The Snowden leaks and the billionaire

A quick follow-up to Sunday’s post.

There’s still a question that’s unresolved, and it wouldn’t be important, or anyone’s business really, if it weren’t for the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, that were and presumably still are part of this new venture. If it was just Greenwald, Omidyar & Co — it would certainly be interesting, but it wouldn’t be so questionable (I use that term literally, no implication of wrong-doing, just saying that it’s something that we have real questions about).

The main question is this: What happened?

The NSA documents still seem to reside at the Guardian. Are there now two copies, one with Greenwald and one with his (former) employer? Does he still write for the Guardian? I’m not clear about that either. What’s his status at the Omidyar company? Is he a journalist-only, or is he also a principal of the company? When he speaks, is he a company spokesperson or a journalist discussing his journalistic work? Will we know when he’s wearing which of these hats, if he actually has two?

Again, this wouldn’t be important if he were writing about the Knicks or the weather, but he’s reporting on issues of importance to people all over the world. How this is handled, the custody of the Snowden documents, and what’s to become of them, is the matter of importance. It’s not just important to the government and Greenwald, it’s important to everyone. And it’s not okay to just brush the questions aside, as they have, so far.

I can’t imagine Greenwald accepting the answers his company gave to the questions we asked here. Regardless, I don’t accept them. They’re valid questions, and deserve a thoughtful response.

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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