House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rodgers accused journalist Glenn Greenwald of selling the material Edward Snowden removed from NSA servers. The accusations came during a House hearing on global threats to the United States.
“For personal gain, he’s now selling his access to information, that’s how they’re terming it…. A thief selling stolen material is a thief,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told journalists after a hearing where the leaks set in motion by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. were a major topic of discussion.
Rogers stated he had heard the information was being sold by “other nations’ press services.”
Politico described that Rogers raised the issue “repeatedly” saying the Intel Chair referred to “discussions of selling access to this material to both newspaper outlets and other places.”
“To the best of your knowledge, fencing stolen material — is that a crime?” he asked FBI Director James Comey.
“It would be,” in most cases, Comey said. However, he quickly added that it would be “complicated” in a situation where the person selling that information was engaged in a newsgathering activity because of “First Amendment implications.”
“If I’m a newspaper reporter for fill-in-the-blank and I sell stolen material, is that legal because I’m a newspaper reporter?” asked Rogers, who did not mention Greenwald by name during the hearing but made the reference to him clear later in response to reporters’ questions.
“If you’re a newspaper reporter and you’re hawking stolen jewelry, it’s still a crime,” Comey said, before adding that the issue of a journalist selling access to information was “a harder question.”
Greenwald denies he is selling documents.
“I’m never selling documents,” Greenwald said, adding that he makes the freelance arrangements so that prosecutors can’t accuse him of being a source rather than a reporter. “What they’re trying to do is to remove it from the realm of journalism, so that they can then criminalize it,” he said.
But Clapper intimated that journalists might be prosecuted as “accomplices.”
“Snowden claims that he’s won and that his mission is accomplished. If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to U.S. security,” Clapper said, repeating comments he made last week at a parallel Senate hearing.