Glenn Greenwald and Pierre Omidyar: Retract and Apologize for Smearing PJ Media, Misleading The Intercept's Readers

Last November, PJ Media’s Patrick Poole broke the story that Turkey had arrested U.S. citizen Saadiq Long during a raid on an ISIS cell. Poole’s piece brought negative attention upon Glenn Greenwald -- the leftist media figure known for having aided Edward Snowden -- because in 2013, Greenwald, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, CAIR, and others had reported that Saadiq Long had been unjustly placed on the U.S. “No Fly” list. Greenwald claimed that “Islamophobia” was responsible.

Greenwald chose to respond to Poole’s article with a several thousand-word article making the serious accusation that PJ Media had “fabricated” the story. That there was no terror raid, that Long was simply visiting Turkey with his family to tour and to seek job opportunities, and that Long had actually been held for -- of course -- being on the “No Fly” list.

We reviewed Poole’s information and sourcing, and examined Greenwald’s response. We found that Poole had reported the evidence exactly as it read.

We also found that the evidence revealed Greenwald had filled his article with subtly misleading and inconsistent claims, which we could only assume were intentional. So we wrote a lengthy, detailed response to Greenwald’s article accusing us of "fabrication." Robert Spencer, PJ Media contributor and editor of JihadWatch, wrote of our response:

[Leaves] his "fabrication" claim a smoking ruin. This is an extraordinary piece that lays bare the full extent of Greenwald’s dishonest spin and subtle concealing of the truth.

After reviewing the evidence and getting a fuller assessment of the situation, we had reason to believe the further details of Long’s arrest that confirm Poole's original reporting and contradict Greenwald's were likely to become public sooner or later. At such a time, Poole would be able to revisit the story and put a firm end to Greenwald’s smear of “fabrication.”

Indeed, on January 2 the Arabic-language outlet Tahrir News was able to confirm Poole’s original report: they wrote that Saadiq Long had been arrested during a raid on an ISIS cell, and that all eight people arrested were suspected of belonging to ISIS. Tahrir News added an additional, and major, detail that Poole had not reported: two of the eight were already known by Turkish authorities as ISIS operatives.

Then, as expected, last week brought further confirmation of Poole’s reporting -- this time, it came in the form of a legal brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The DOJ brief regarding the Saadiq Long case contained plenty of evidence and details that contradicted Greenwald’s version of events, and completely eliminated Greenwald's claim of "fabrication" since the DOJ attorneys, through their own channels, had received the exact same information about a terror raid.

For starters, here are some major points from the DOJ brief:

  1. The Turkish National Police had received a call on their terror tip line about the presence of an ISIS cell in the area, and then conducted a raid.

  1. Turkish officials could find no record that Long and his family had legally entered Turkey.

  1. Long was picked up in Gaziantep, which for several years now has been the prime corridor for ISIS traversal between Turkey and Syria. Don't take our word for it on Gaziantep: numerous U.S. government and international sources, plus the New York Times, the New Yorker, and others, are responsible for that claim. In particular, the New Yorker described U.S. officials portraying a stay by a Westerner in Gaziantep -- for even a few hours -- as being a mortal danger. The New Yorker added that “Americans in Gaziantep have been warned that ISIS operatives are tracking the activities of Westerners.”

Recall, Greenwald claimed this Westerner, this American citizen, deliberately exposed his wife and kids to this horror for the purposes of tourism and to find new job opportunities.

The DOJ brief not only eliminated Greenwald's charge of "fabrication," it rendered Greenwald's claim of a family vacation/job search -- one that would have begun with his family illegally crossing into Turkey, and have ended while accompanied by two known ISIS operatives in ISIStown -- absurd beyond any rational analysis.

After the release of the DOJ brief, Poole was finally able to write an article about the now-public details, putting a neat bow on the whole incident.

You can read Poole’s article here.

Note that Poole finishes the article by asking the following about Greenwald:

Will Greenwald and Hayes pretend that our original reporting has not been confirmed, that the conditions and location of his arrest don't render Long's tale of job-seeking and Islamophobia not credible to a rational observer?

See that?

Poole guessed Greenwald might, when presented with the opportunity to apologize, instead run with option “pretend.


Folks, I'm here wasting yet another afternoon eliminating a Glenn Greenwald smear of PJ Media, as his latest dispatch leads us to believe that a conscious decision to “pretend” is exactly what happened.

On Monday, Greenwald posted an article titled: "U.S. Air Force Veteran, Smeared as 'an ISIS Fighter,' Just Returned to the U.S."

His article makes zero mention of Poole's analysis, as if it doesn't exist elsewhere on the internet where readers of his article looking for further coverage might come across it and discover Greenwald glossed over virtually every detail of the story.