The PJ Tatler

WaPo Quietly Changes Key Details in NSA Story

This is one of those “read the whole thing” stories. You have to, to get what Ed Bott at ZDNet is saying.

The gist is that the Washington Post has quietly made major edits to its initial story about the NSA’s PRISM program, without acknowledging that any changes have been made at all. Many of the changes are stylistic, but many are factual. Such as the allegation that nine major US tech firms have knowingly cooperated with NSA to the point of giving the agency direct access to their servers.

The original story said:


The quietly changed version now reads:


That’s obviously a significant change. Bott found many others and posted a version of the story that tracks all of the edits made to it since the Post went live with it.

Noting all the changes, Bott leaps to a conclusion that I’m not sure is justified. He says the story shows the “collapse of journalism.” I’m not sure I buy that. Journalism in the mainstream media collapsed years ago, with the collective and deliberate failure to vet one Barack Obama as he ran for president. Every time a so-called mainstream journalist apes without examining a Democrat line on, say, border security or spending policy, it’s a failure that contributes to the collapse of journalism.

The reporters who’ve worked the NSA story evidently failed to vet Snowden too. He claimed to be a “career intelligence specialist” when it turns out he’s an infrastructure analyst. He claimed to be making $200,000 per year, when the actual figure is $120,000. He claims to be championing civil liberties yet he fled to Hong Kong — China, in other words, one of the most paranoid and repressive regimes around — ahead of his disclosure. He may also have exaggerated what PRISM actually does. We’re through the looking glass in many respects here, and it’s all but impossible to know who is writing and saying what on their own behalf, or on behalf of an intelligence community that’s now on the defensive.