In the left corner, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and the original 21st century champion of exposing government secrecy via whistleblowers. In the right corner, Glenn Greenwald, journalist and columnist whose National Security Agency reporting has shed light on mass government abuse of privacy. Assange is about to celebrate his second anniversary living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as he avoids an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct in Sweden. Greenwald, meanwhile, has won a Pulitzer for his reporting, for The Guardian newspaper.
The WikiLeaks Twitter account, widely believed to be run by Julian Assange, spent Monday criticizing a new article published by The Intercept, the new Firstlook Media venture run by Glenn Greenwald.
The story, based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, revealed that the NSA is secretly recording "virtually every cell phone conversation" in the Bahamas and four other countries, one of which The Intercept did not name.
Greenwald defended the decision, and argued on Twitter that The Intercept withheld the fifth name because its staff was convinced it "could harm innocents." He added that the NSA tried to get The Intercept to withhold all the country names.
But Assange had already lashed out with accusations of censorship.
Eventually he took it one step further — and basically compared Firstlook Media to the Bush administration.
Greenwald tried to show that it wasn't a matter of censorship but safety.
Greenwald has in the past lambasted media for withholding information, while Assange has been accused of endangering sources by reckless redacting.
But Assange was having none of it.
Then Greenwald was all: But you guys used to do this too.
Assange said that WikiLeaks redacting information in the past was a mistake.
Twitter was very entertained, seeing two titans of whistleblowing reporting going head to head.
Greenwald kept cool.
Assange kept up the assault. And then he said this.
Things got philosophical too.
The intrigue continues.
Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor
Contact Miriam Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miriam Elder is the world editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 5B5F EC17 C20B C11F 226D 3EBE 6205 F92F AC14 DCB1
Contact Miriam Elder at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.