Craig Murray: Snowden & Teixeira

The behavior of The New York Times and Washington Post in the current case involving secret documents is truly shocking. In contrast to 10 years ago, they now see their mission as to serve the security state, not public knowledge.

Some members of European Parliament stage a show of support for Edward Snowden, March 12, 2014, Strasbourg, France. (greensefa, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By Craig Murray

Ten years ago, WikiLeaks helped Edward Snowden to escape and publish his revelations by The Intercept, Guardian, New York Times and others. 

In 2023 Jack Teixeira is tracked down by U.K. secret service front Bellingcat in conjunction with The New York Times and, in parallel with The Washington Post, not to help him escape or help him publish or tell people his motives, but to help the state arrest him. 

Those outlets have accessed a cache of at least 300 additional secret documents in doing so — and have kept them secret, with the exception of a couple of snippets that mainly forward the official state narrative.

The contrast with 10 years ago tells a very real and glaring truth. The idea that the legacy media in any way serves the truth or the public interest is now completely buried. The legacy media serves the state, and the state serves the billionaires.

WikiLeaks is now so hamstrung by attacks on its finances, personnel and logistics as to be almost inoperable. Propaganda outfit Bellingcat was conceived as a way to counter it, by producing material with the frisson of secret access but actually as an outlet for the security services. An astonishing amount of “liberal opinion” falls for it.

Jack Teixeira. (U.S. Air National Guard, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Similarly The Intercept, like The Guardian, was subject to an internal takeover that delivered it entirely into the hands of the neo-conservatives.

Neither the alleged journalists of The New York Times, Washington Post, nor Bellingcat did the most basic things a real journalist would do. 

They did not contact Teixeira, speak to him, ask him to explain his motivation and look through the other secret material to which he had access, to get Teixeira’s view on its meaning and implications and to publish what in it was in the public interest. 

Instead, they simply shopped him to the F.B.I. and closed down the remaining documents.

I am not at all surprised by Bellingcat, which is plainly a spook organisation. I hope this enables more people to see through them. But the behaviour of The New York Times and Washington Post is truly shocking. They now see their mission as to serve the security state, not public knowledge.

In the 10 years between Snowden and Teixeira, the world has changed hugely for the worse. Not only has a huge amount of freedom disappeared, freedom’s former guardians have been subverted. It has been 10 years of disaster.

[Related: Corporate Media Are the Anti-WikiLeaks]

A cache of twitter images of some of the leaked documents is here. I am not aware of any broader cache — feel free to insert links to any in the comments.

Labelled ‘Russian Hacks’ or ‘Disinformation’ 

The initial reaction to the leaked documents was to rubbish them with the memes routinely applied to all information embarrassing to the state nowadays — they were either “Russian hacks” or “faked or amended disinformation.”

These attacks were particularly important as the message that came over clearly from these Teixeira leaks was precisely the same as that which came over from Daniel Ellsberg’s original Pentagon Papers leak 50 years ago — that the public is being lied to about how the war is going. 

[Related: Leaks Spelling the End for Ukraine]

(It is worth reflecting that in today’s world The New York Times and Washington Post would have condemned Ellsberg and emphasised those bits of the Pentagon Papers which reflect badly on the VietCong).

Ukraine was particularly concerned about U.S. official figures showing Ukrainian casualties much higher, and Russian casualties much lower, than the Ukrainian official figures the U.S. ostensibly endorsed.

Revealing the Obvious

I have to say I always find both Ukrainian and Russian casualty figures laughably false. The idea that either side is telling the truth appears to me one that no half-sensible person could entertain. I had presumed that was the general view.

Revelations about the fragility of Ukrainian air defences and supply lines similarly seemed to me a statement of the blindingly obvious. 

It is also unhelpful for the U.S. to have revealed that it is actively spying on President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as allies such as South Korea and Israel. But again, this is embarrassing in the sense it is embarrassing if somebody publishes pictures of you on the toilet; it is not that nobody thought you used the toilet. 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledging applause from a joint session of U.S. Congress on Dec. 21, 2022. (C-Span still)

There is not a diplomat alive who did not know the U.S. does this stuff.

Eventually the media and security services, with Bellingcat in the vanguard, decided the best way forward was to admit the papers are genuine, but only tell us about very selected ones, and then with a positive spin. 

So we have stories about how brilliant the U.S. secret services are at penetrating Russian power structures and communications, and how the real danger from the leaks is revealing to the Russians the extent of American success. 

That line has been splashed all over legacy and social media. As the public is being denied the original documents this conclusion is extrapolated from, it is difficult to assess. The journalists of course have not assessed it; they have just copied and pasted the line.

Other helpful snippets for the security services are published, such as an assessment that the U.N. secretary general is pro-Russian, or standard stuff on North Korean nuclear ambitions. In the last week it is noticeable that, since original documents stopped surfacing into public view, nothing has been published that does not serve U.S. propaganda narratives.

There remains the mystery that the sources of these documents seem particularly diverse – in particular some being apparently internal C.I.A. – for an intelligence officer in the Air National Guard to access, but it is not impossible.

Jack Teixeira is at the centre of this puzzle but remains the missing piece. We have heard nothing from him. A rather unconvincing interview with a suspiciously fluent, pixeled out acquaintance grassing him up to The Washington Post stated that he was a right-wing patriot.

Teixeira has been portrayed both as some kind of rampant supporter of former President Donald Trump who is incensed at the state, and as an inadequate jock revealing documents just to boast to fellow gaming nerds. We should remain suspicious of attempts to characterise him: I am acutely aware of media portrayals of Julian Assange which are entirely untrue.

It is a shame The Washington Post, New York Times, Guardian and Bellingcat each had no interest whatsoever in the journalistic pursuit of the truth behind this extraordinary episode. We live entirely in security states: there is no doubt about it.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. His coverage is entirely dependent on reader support. Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

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The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

27 comments for “Craig Murray: Snowden & Teixeira

  1. robert e williamson jr
    April 21, 2023 at 16:26

    As usual Mr. Murry is spot on! Once again proving America eats it’s own young.

  2. Realist
    April 21, 2023 at 05:02

    This country will soon have enough political prisoners to justify its own “Bastille Day.”

  3. CaseyG
    April 20, 2023 at 08:51

    I always thought that “1984” was just a novel. It now appears that “1984” is actually the primer for how to ruin any government , any democracy.

    • jdd
      April 20, 2023 at 15:04

      It was intended to as a warning, but rather to prime the public, not governments. The UK and US do not need a roadmap, that’s what intel agencies and think tanks are for.

    • Robert Sinuhe
      April 21, 2023 at 10:24

      It was never only a novel, Casey. Mr. Orwell was simply good at addition. Animal Farm by the same author indicated his understanding of the dark side of human nature. That dark side: the love of riches and power and the possessing of ability to control is endemic to the human species. They who try to change this normally get shot or imprisoned.

      • Valerie
        April 22, 2023 at 03:55

        Or ostracized.

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    April 20, 2023 at 05:38

    Rotting away from the inside out…

  5. Michael Kritschgau
    April 20, 2023 at 03:59

    I can smell a security state from 7000 miles away.
    In my country it is still in play.
    We had it during communism and we have it now during the so called democracy. It is a security state endorsed by the U.S. Embassy.
    Some say that before something is tried in the U.S. it is first tried in my country to see its effectiveness.

  6. April 20, 2023 at 03:38

    Excellent. As I write in my recent article Texeira is a convenient excuse for the Pentagon’s Informational Bladder problems The Pentagon’s version of the “dog ate my homework”

  7. Gordon Hastie
    April 20, 2023 at 02:57

    Further confirmation to those who aren’t sheep or sleeping that the MSM not only don’t do journalism these days, they are anti-journalism.

  8. michael888
    April 20, 2023 at 01:43

    The abolition of American law against domestic propaganda in 2013 (the “modernization” of Smith Mundt), followed by the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016, LEGALLY put the mainstream news media firmly under control of the State Department/ CIA, who of course have a major role in controlling the Official Narratives in foreign countries and are better at propaganda than the Stasi, Gestapo or KGB ever were (citizens in their countries knew the Official Narratives were crap; Americans are in contrast unquestioning). MSM is now (Deep) State Media.
    The only obstacles to the burgeoning Police State’s information control are the small alternative media, American samizdat. No doubt, these sites will be de-funded, de-platformed, and crushed as misinformation, disinformation, and particularly malinformation (truth but not “presented/ characterized properly” relative to the Official Narrative.)
    Squashing malinformation was critical to the American Covid response, a great bureaucratic success!

    • Valerie
      April 20, 2023 at 16:56

      “(citizens in their countries knew the Official Narratives were crap; Americans are in contrast unquestioning).”

      I believe this applies to most of europe too.

  9. Randal Marlin
    April 19, 2023 at 23:26

    It is interesting how the media jump, illogically, to a conclusion that is not warranted by what three U.S. officials told Reuters.
    What the officials are reported to have said is “Russia or pro-Russian elements are likely behind the leak of several classified military documents posted on social media…”

    This led to headlines “U.S. says Russia likely behind military document leak document leak” (TVP World); “Russia likely behind classified Pentagon documents leak” (The Independent); “Russia likely behind leak of US military documents” (VOV World); and (not a headline, but in the text)“U.S. officials have accused Russia of being behind the leak” (Wikipedia).

    But in common parlance, (1) saying something is likely is not the same as saying something is actually the case, only that it is likely; and (2) saying “Russia or pro-Russian elements are likely behind the leak…” is true when Russia had nothing to do with the leak but “pro-Russian elements” did.

    The mistake made in the journalistic interpretation is to treat “or” as meaning “and.”
    If “or” is in its usual meaning in this context there is no warrant for saying definitely that the officials said that it was Russia, as distinct from “pro-Russian elements” being behind the leak.

    Which leads to the question: What is meant by “pro-Russian elements”? Is the word “elements” used to muddy the waters, mixing humans with e.g. bots, so that attention is drawn away from the idea that the leakers might just be doing it for sensation, without any pro- or anti-Russian feeling?

    I can say, in fact have said (page 117, “Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion,” 2nd Edition) that the rhetorical use of “or” can be used for propaganda purposes. Whether the language of the three officials had a propaganda purpose, I cannot be sure. But their phrasing certainly worked to lead media to say things that I would presume the three officials would welcome.

  10. Jeff Harrison
    April 19, 2023 at 18:35

    I’m skeptical of this whole mess. Mr Murray is correct in terms of his assessment of “journalism” such as it is today but the rest of it? I’m struggling to accept that a low level enlisted would be able to get his hands on a bunch of CIA product all by his lonesome. It has all the hallmarks of another government lie…

    • Valerie
      April 20, 2023 at 17:05

      Sort of like the Saudi hijacker passport found on the pavement after the 9/11 attacks. (I’ve always wondered how that thing survived.) Stranger than fiction eh Jeff?

    • goldbach
      April 20, 2023 at 17:38

      I have seen it reported that Mr Teixeira is alleged to have accessed all this material, taken it home, copied it, archived it on some obscure website and returned the originals without being caught at it ………. all within the space of 2 days ………… and that he had, somehow, gained access to documents access to which was denied to all but a very tight circle of the most senior staff. Something a little fishy here, surely.
      Given that Mark Milley has been expressing concern about the conduct of the Ukrainian government, I don’t suppose that ……………

    • IJ Scambling
      April 20, 2023 at 17:49

      Scott Ritter on Judge Napolitano Wednesday April 19: the kid (Teixiera) was mostly trying to impress his buddies in the chat room and was inadequately supervised so got away with it. (The leaks extend back for months, at least into December).

      Will be given a rap on the hand for it. He recalls a mistake he made when very junior in intelligence. See at approximately minute 20 of the following:


  11. Lois Gagnon
    April 19, 2023 at 16:18

    The only thing propping up this dilapidated imperial edifice is mind control. It’s worked well so far. When that fails, the rats will scatter.

  12. April 19, 2023 at 15:21

    Yup – message:

    When the spell is broken
    The thrill is gone

    • Riva Enteen
      April 19, 2023 at 19:01

      “We live entirely in security states.”
      So when do we call it fascism?

      • Marie-France Germain
        April 20, 2023 at 12:17

        My thoughts too! But until we accept that our various countries are not the democracies we believed we were, are not “free Markets” but authoritarian capitalism/corporatism that serves the rich only, or even accept that we are mere pawns or serfs to governmental regimes rather than citizens, or that we are indeed, citizens, and not mere consumers, we cannot go the rest of the way and remove the blinders that keep us from seeing a glamour cast over reality. It’s a hard truth to swallow but a relief once accepted because one can then see more clearly.

  13. Rudy Haugeneder
    April 19, 2023 at 14:52

    And there you have it — truth and reality.

  14. Rudy Haugeneder
    April 19, 2023 at 14:51

    government has increased the ranks of public employees by more than 33% since 2015.

  15. shmutzoid
    April 19, 2023 at 13:33

    Craig Murray tells it like it is once again. ………….. I’m surprised Murray didn’t at least mention the plausibility of Texiera being a patsy for a purpose-driven leak of this material. Larry Johnson has suggested the CIA leaking these docs is a way to begin to condition the American mind for an eventual pullout from Ukraine. According to Johnson and others, there is NO way this info could have been accessed by anyone outside of the small closed loop for which it was intended.

    And, yes……. this episode is a stark example of what exactly “journalism” is about these days. i mean, the subversion of “news” outlets to the state is nothing new – Operation Mockingbird, etc. But, the symbiosis between the state and corporate “news” outlets is tighter and more open than ever. ……. It’s just so in our face, as if it doesn’t even matter. ……And, scarily enough, the US public is so disoriented by 24/7 propaganda ,which induces apathy, it probably doesn’t matter. ……. US imperial war managers, with a compliant mass media, seemingly can do whatever they want in the world without fear of a societal uprising. …….The public is spoon-fed a story line in black and white, good and evil. Any contextual/historical analysis of Ukraine/NATO/Russia/USA relations is tagged as “Russian disinformation”. ……..There is a whole cottage industry of groups -Prop-or-not, Bellingcat, Newsguard, Hamilton 68 and others – tasked with sussing out content that doesn’t adhere to the ‘official narratives’ , and forwarded on to Big Tech for de-platforming or algorithmic downgrading. …Oppression. Repression. Suppression ——–> life in our oh so glorious Homeland!

    • Aubrey
      April 19, 2023 at 18:56

      “If you would like to know who controls look you, look at who you are not allowed criticize.”

      ? Tacitus

      America is the largest fascist nation in the world.

      “In Amazon’s warehouses, we see workers are organized along a hypertaylorized division of labor across the circulation line: meaning workers are divided up into tasks like prepping, stowing, picking or packing an item with the aim of getting product of to the customer as efficiently as possible.

      This traditional organization of workers is combined with technology in order to ensure efficiency and productivity. These are characterized by assigned Units Per Hour (UPH) rates all whilst facing both social and technological surveillance.

      Within these warehouses, the individual labor of workers comes together under its slogan “work hard. have fun. make history”


      In reference to the cynical Nazi slogan Arbeit Macht Frei – Work Makes You Free that the SS had placed at the entrance of Auschwitz – we can substitute that ‘Work Makes You Free’ now, for hi-tech company entrances into Amazon or Apple or any other transnational corporation where the CEO’s place their corporate fascist symbol.

      • Valerie
        April 20, 2023 at 17:22

        No. “Arbeit macht frei” works better, because it’s really Nazi/fascist. And if any unwitting employees question it, the fascist CEO’s can say it’s Welsh or Gaelic.

  16. Cart Manchu
    April 19, 2023 at 13:28

    I’d say it is slightly different.

    During this entire millenium, the ‘news’ has seen its duty as service to the security state. See Dan Rather and flag lapels and pledges to obey the Great Leader. See the various NYT stories that the NYT was willing to ‘delay’ coverage of at the request of the security state. IIRC, these ranged from George Dubya Bush’s cheating at a Presidential Debate by wearing a radio, to stories about the mass surveillance of Americans contrary to the Bill of Rights. The point is, there is nothing new about their subservience to the security state. Their corporate owners and the security state are joined at the hip, and likewise have been for decades.

    What is different is what the ‘news’ sees as the best way for them to serve power. They used to do this by doing a ‘fake partnership’ with the leaker which put them in a position to somewhat control the reporting, as well as I’d imagine giving the security state a heads-up on what was coming out. Now they happily help in the apprehension of the leaker.

    I suspect that the evidence of declining trust of the population has something to do with this, as in response they now more openly attack any challenges to their Au-THOR-it-teeeeee. That is a sign of their insecurity and weakness.

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