A conversation between Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and Meet the Press host David Gregory got pretty uncomfortable after Gregory asked Greenwald whether he should be charged with a crime for "aiding and abetting" his most famous source, Edward Snowden, who left Hong Kong on Sunday morning. Greenwald did not take kindly to the question. "I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies," he said. Greenwald then called "the assumption" that he "aided and abetted" Snowden "completely without evidence." (It's not clear if Gregory was suggesting that Greenwald did anything but publish the material Snowden gave him.) Greenwald also brought up the Obama administration's pre-Snowden spying on Associated Press and Fox News reporters who worked with government leakers, which he called an attempt to "criminalize investigative journalism" by accusing reporters of "being co-conspirator in felonies for working with sources."
"If you want to embrace that theory," Greenwald continued, "it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information, is a criminal." Gregory (who referred to Greenwald as a "polemicist" early in the chat) replied that, "The question of who's a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you're doing," but added that he was merely "asking a question that has been raised by lawmakers," and "not embracing anything."
Greenwald didn't see it that way:
Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) Jun 23, 2013
Update: Gregory gave an on-air response to Greenwald's tweet at the beginning of Meet the Press's roundtable on Snowden: "This is the problem from somebody who claims that he's a journalist, who would object to a journalist raising questions, which is not actually embracing any particular point of view," he said. "And that's part of the tactics of the debate here when, in fact, lawmakers have questioned him. There's a question about his role in this, The Guardian's role in all of this. It is actually part of the debate, rather than going after the questioner, he could take on the issues."