Glenn Greenwald of 'The Intercept' Throws a Hail Mary Against PJ Media

On Thursday, Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept published a several thousand-word article titled "A Muslim American Veteran Was Widely Smeared With a Fabricated Story About ISIS Charges.” Within the article, Greenwald made the serious accusation that PJ Media "fabricated" details of our November 24 article titled "MSNBC's 'No-Fly List Is Islamophobia' Poster Boy Arrested in Turkey as Part of ISIS Cell.”

Our article referred to the arrest last month of Saadiq Long, who two years ago was held up by Greenwald as an example to further his argument that the U.S. Government arbitrarily places Muslim Americans on the no-fly list.

Wrote national security correspondent Patrick Poole back in November within the article in question:

A man, who just two years ago was the poster boy for the far-Left media's attacks against the U.S. government's no-fly list for "unfairly" targeting Muslims, finds himself and several family members sitting in a Turkish prison -- arrested earlier this month near the Turkey-Syria border as members of an ISIS cell.

It's a long way from 2013 when Saadiq Long's cause was being championed by MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Glenn Greenwald, and Mother Jones, and was being represented by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) terror front.

Yesterday, Greenwald -- presumably looking to clear himself of possibly being had by his supposed victim -- wrote this of our article:

[T]he story is entirely false: a fabrication. Neither Long nor his wife or daughter have been arrested on charges that he joined ISIS. He faces no criminal charges of any kind in Turkey.

Instead, he and his family are being detained at the Geri Gonderme Merkezi deportation center in Erzurum, Turkey, evidently because he was placed years ago by the U.S. on its no-fly list. And the U.S. Embassy in Ankara has been working continually with Long’s family to secure his release, and, if he chooses, his return to the U.S.

After revisiting our reporting and reconfirming the evidence we obtained, we can only read the tea leaves in his article to ascertain whether he actually got his hands on the same evidence we did. Because the evidence reads just as Poole reported it: Long, his wife, and his child were arrested inside Turkey, near the Syria border, as part of an ISIS cell.

We can think of two possibilities as to why Greenwald chose to write his article unequivocally accusing us of fabricating a story when he appears to agree with, if not all, then most of it. Maybe Greenwald either a) was not able to view the evidence we received, and instead trusted the words of Long’s lawyer — Gadeir Abbas, former staff attorney for Muslim Brotherhood offshoot CAIR — enough to attack us with them; or b) maybe Greenwald did view the material, but instead gambled that he could clear himself by implying Abbas' defense tactic is the actual reported circumstance of the incident.

Giving Greenwald the benefit of the doubt as a journalist, we’ll go with "b." We can’t be sure, but the remainder of his article’s numerous internally inconsistent claims and misleading passages lead us towards that conclusion.

Keep reading, folks, its truly extraordinary. A close examination of Greenwald's phrasing shows just how far he was willing to take his readers down the rabbit hole to smear us.

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Reread Greenwald's two paragraphs above, and compare them to Poole's article. Greenwald's wording is extremely misleading on a pivotal point he should be experienced enough to grasp, so we can only presume the wording was deliberate:

Neither Long nor his wife or daughter have been arrested on charges that he joined ISIS. He faces no criminal charges of any kind in Turkey.

Greenwald is correct -- but he is correct because all he did was restate Poole's reporting from a different angle. Poole never wrote that Long currently "faces charges that he joined ISIS," or that Long currently faces "criminal charges."

Poole actually only wrote that Long and his family had been arrested in Turkey as part of an ISIS cell, which we again confirmed yesterday.

No charges have been filed as of this writing. They are still in custody as of this writing.

Greenwald continues with this strawman sleight-of-hand, as he gathers two anonymous sources (note that Greenwald attacked Poole for using an anonymous source) to shoot down this claim of "charges" that no one but Greenwald ever mentioned:

A press officer with the Bureau of Consular Affairs, who asked to be identified only as “a State Department official,” contradicted the Pajamas Media claim. “We are aware of Mr. Long’s case and are providing consular assistance. At this time, we are not aware that he has been formally charged with a crime,” the official told The Intercept.

The Turkish government would not comment on the record, but a Turkish source with substantial connections to law enforcement agencies in Gaziantep also told The Intercept that Long has not been arrested, but is merely being held for deportation.

We are in full agreement with the unnamed State Department official, as Poole never reported that any charges have been filed. Despite Greenwald's use of the word "contradicted," the statement does not contradict anything -- besides the words Greenwald falsely attributed to Poole.

As for the Bureau of Consular Affiars, this morning we received the below email from it. It opened our eyes as to how Greenwald was trying to build the illusion that he was offering information he did not actually receive.

The Bureau's email to us says they are aware of reports Long was "arrested," and cannot comment further:

Saadiq Long email

This email challenges Greenwald's unequivocal claim that Long was "detained," or "held," and that the Bureau was Greenwald's source for this information. Read closer: Greenwald doesn't actually write that, he just made it appear as if he did. He says that the Bureau contradicts Poole, but he then offers no evidence that the Bureau said such a thing, and there is a very good reason as to why he didn't:

A press officer with the Bureau of Consular Affairs, who asked to be identified only as “a State Department official,” contradicted the Pajamas Media claim. “We are aware of Mr. Long’s case and are providing consular assistance. At this time, we are not aware that he has been formally charged with a crime,” the official told The Intercept.

The Bureau statement to Greenwald does not provide the information Greenwald claims it does in the first sentence. Poole never said that Long had been "charged," and the Bureau never says that Long was "detained" and not "arrested."

This is because the Bureau is not legally allowed to have provided this information to GreenwaldIn a phone call, the Bureau specifically told PJ Media today that their email to us intentionally did not confirm or deny anything, because doing so would violate Long's privacy rights.

Greenwald made it seem as if the Bureau was his source, and that their information contradicted Poole. It doesn't -- and they would never have given it to him, anyway. So Greenwald never actually wrote what he said he was about to, he just made it appear as if he did.

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Greenwald's description of comments by the Turkish government source take a slightly different attack, but are similarly misleading. However, these comments do not even require revisiting Poole's article. They are simply inexplicable -- if bereft of the assumption that Greenwald intended to confuse the reader:

The Turkish government would not comment on the record, but a Turkish source with substantial connections to law enforcement agencies in Gaziantep also told The Intercept that Long has not been arrested, but is merely being held for deportation.

"Arrested" does not mean "charged," and Poole never wrote that Long was "charged."

"Detained" or "held" implies your movement is being temporarily restricted while the detaining officer does further investigation -- for example, when a person suspected of being a drunk driver is being put through sobriety tests, the suspect has not been arrested but is not free to leave at that moment. The suspect is being "detained," or "held." But as Greenwald must know, there is no concrete point at which a detention becomes an arrest. In the U.S., one of the factors considered is how much time has passed. In Long's case? He has been held -- involuntarily -- for several weeks now. At this point, "arrested" is a reasonable descriptor to use, no matter the claim of the anonymous Turkish official. Long is in custody and is not free to leave.

Greenwald's claim that Long is being held "for deportation" is not in conflict whatsoever with Poole, despite Greenwald's presentation of it as conflicting evidence. "Deportation" does not imply that Long will or will not be charged somewhere else. And Poole never said that he would or would not be. None of Greenwald's above statements prove, disprove, or even conflict with Poole's report that Long was arrested "as part of an ISIS cell." In regards to what Poole actually wrote, they are non-sequiturs.

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Editing out Greenwald's righteous anger, at this point he has not actually said anything more meaningful than the athlete, post-game, who tells the press gaggle that his nagging hamstring pull simply "is what it is."

When reading below, where Greenwald gets around to actually challenging a claim of Poole's, view it through the lens of what he's offered so far.

Greenwald wants the reader to believe that, in addition to his haggling over "arrested/detained/held," his article also contains evidence proving that Long is in custody only because he is on the U.S. "no-fly list" and not as part of a raid on an ISIS terror cell.

Such a claim would actually conflict with Poole's reporting.

But let's read Greenwald's article again: does he actually write what he said he was going to write? Here it is:

Instead, he and his family are being detained at the Geri Gonderme Merkezi deportation center in Erzurum, Turkey, evidently because he was placed years ago by the U.S. on its no-fly list. And the U.S. Embassy in Ankara has been working continually with Long’s family to secure his release, and, if he chooses, his return to the U.S.

Words like "evidently" are added by reporters who don't have the story yet, or by staff lawyers fearing blowback. Note that several paragraphs later, "evidently" becomes a parenthetical "presumably":

In mid-November, Long attempted to enter Turkey along with his wife and daughter to explore the possibility of relocating there from Qatar, where Long has lived and worked for many years teaching English. Long had previously been stationed in Turkey as part of his 10-year Air Force service and thus knows the country well. The three of them were detained (presumably because he’s on the U.S. government’s no-fly list and other watchlists), told they would be deported, and were then moved to Turkey’s deportation center, where they have remained ever since.

That's a pivotal parenthetical.

We know where in the evidence Greenwald got the idea to use that argument, and we know the section of the evidence he skipped right over -- the "arrested as part of an ISIS cell" part -- to get to it. And we know why he had to use "evidently" and "presumably."

Greenwald returns to deceptive wording in his following paragraph:

From the start, U.S. officials repeatedly informed the family members of Long and his wife that they were being detained for deportation, not arrested or charged. On November 24, the day the Pajamas Media report was published, a security official with the U.S. Embassy emailed Long’s brother-in-law to say that the family “is being detained at the deportation center (Geri Gonderme Merkezi) in Erzurum, Turkey.”

The email Greenwald cites does not match the claim from the first sentence.

Greenwald presents evidence that they are being held at a deportation center -- not that they are being deported. He never offers evidence that U.S. officials are "repeatedly" informing the family of an impending deportation.

Again, he has done nothing beyond reiterate Poole's claim of the family being arrested/detained/held.

Greenwald continues with this approach, never actually presenting evidence of his initial claim:

Emails obtained by The Intercept between American consulate officials in Ankara and Long’s family members reflect efforts by a consular officer to facilitate the voluntary return of Long and his family from Turkey to the U.S. on commercial flights. On November 30, the consulate official wrote: “We are working with the Turkish government regarding your sister’s and her family’s departure from Turkey. We will contact you when tickets can be purchased.”

On December 2, the U.S. consular official wrote to Long’s brother-in-law: “We spoke to your sister’s husband today and are working with one of his friends to obtain tickets back to the United States for all of them. We hope to have them depart Turkey next week. We received a congressional inquiry today regarding your sister’s situation.” The consular official provided several flight itineraries on United Airlines from which they could choose and wrote, “We are waiting to hear from Mr. Long’s friend this morning to finalize the tickets.”

Greenwald presents no evidence that reflects his use of the pivotal word "voluntary." And how could he: are they in "voluntary" detention, free to go when they please? This is nonsensical.

Greenwald presents these emails as evidence of the U.S. embassy looking to return this family to the U.S., no harm done. Yet that's not what they actually say.

The emails discuss transporting U.S. citizens back to the country.

There is no mention of "voluntary," and no mention of what is to happen to Saadiq, in particular, when they arrive. Will he be "detained" here? Will he actually exit Turkey at all?

If Greenwald actually had emails with answers that substantiate his claims, wouldn't he have published those?

Greenwald perhaps knows what the embassy has actually been discussing with the family, judging by how he seems to hedge his bets about this possibility.

A lot:

It is, of course, possible that Long may be arrested or charged in the future: by Turkey, the U.S., or some other state. But to date, he has not been. The article claiming he has been, resulting in the widespread smearing of Long as having joined an ISIS cell, is completely false.

Again, no article claiming he has been "arrested or charged" exists. Just "arrested."

Glenn continues hedging:

But let’s assume that this fabricated report had been accurate. What would it have meant? Even the Pajamas Media story did not claim that Long had been convicted of being an ISIS member. It claimed that he had been charged with that: by the government of Turkey, which notoriously exploits terrorism accusations to imprison people.

So Poole is wrong, but even if he's right about what happened, he's wrong about what's really happening.

Again -- and here Greenwald even uses italics, committing to the falsehood -- Poole did not claim that anyone was "charged."

Here's more of Greenwald presuming that we might actually arrive at the outcome that Poole reported the truth:

It is repellent to blithely assume that someone is an ISIS operative because they have been alleged by a government -- with no proof or even a trial -- to be one.

And some more:

... even if Long had, after 2012, broken some law that justified his current detention or arrest, it would not remotely undermine or even affect the argument made three years ago about his situation. No matter who ends up being placed on it, the no-fly list is a travesty of justice ...

 Still more!:

The point of the 2012 media coverage was not that Long was innocent: One can never prove a negative. The point was that it is unjust in the extreme for the U.S. government to deprive citizens of basic rights, such as the right to travel, without due process of any kind.

More?

More!:

That was, and is, the point of the 2012 coverage of Long’s story: that the no-fly list is inherently unjust because it deprives citizens of rights based purely on government suspicion and without any due process. If Long ends up subsequently being charged with a crime, that does not alter that point at all. Indeed, Long has long been hoping for an opportunity to clear his name.

Please go read Greenwald's entire piece.

You will find that -- after clearing aside the wordplay -- the only source who actually says with no equivocation that Saadiq was detained because of the no-fly list ...

... is Saadiq's lawyer, formerly of the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned CAIR.

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As Poole stated on November 24, we again report to you that Saadiq Long and his family were arrested as part of an ISIS cell along the Turkey/Syria border per U.S. and Turkish officials who confirmed the arrest to us.

And we think Greenwald knows this, too.

We do not care about his smears of PJ Media. We wrote all of this to respond to his description of career homeland security professional Patrick Poole as "a professional anti-Muslim activist."

It seems that in Greenwald's worldview, those opposed to his leftist slant on global affairs couldn't possibly be anything but a lesser breed of soul. In reality, Poole has spent his life keeping all Americans safe -- be they Muslim or otherwise -- by tracking down the truth and disseminating it to our country's residents and decision-makers.

If folks like Greenwald pursued truth rather than narrative, he'd find that Poole's career of warnings, had they been urgently heeded instead of being denigrated as bigotry by people like Glenn, might have saved many lives in Paris and San Bernardino. Yet here we are.

Stay tuned.