NBC “Meet the Press” host David Gregory provoked a furious response from fellow journalist Glenn Greenwald after he asked whether he should be charged with a crime for having “aided and abetted” admitted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
“To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” Gregory asked Sunday.
The Guardian columnist, who broke the story of the federal government’s secret monitoring programs, replied that it was “pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies.”
“The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea that I have aided and abetted him in anyway,” Greenwald said. “The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the emails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory you just embraced, being a co-conspirator in felonies for working with sources.”
He continued, “if you want to embrace that theory it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources who receives classified information is a criminal, and it’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States.”
Gregory responded that “the question of who’s a journalist may be up for debate, in regards to what you’re doing” and said he was simply asking a question.
The exchange prompted a raging debate online, including from Greenwald, who took to Twitter afterward to hit back at Gregory some more.
“Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?” he tweeted.
Gregory addressed the tweet later in the show, calling it a “problem from somebody who claims that he’s a journalist who would object to a journalist raising questions, which is not actually embracing any particular point of view.”
Greenwald later tweeted, “Has David Gregory ever publicly wondered if powerful DC officials should be prosecuted for things like illegal spying & lying to Congress?”
It was just six months ago that Gregory himself was at the center of a discussion about whether he broke the law, after he brandished what he said was a high-capacity ammunition magazine, a violation of Washington, D.C. law. The D.C. attorney general opted not to pursue charges.