Is disclosure of Podesta’s emails a step too far? A conversation with Naomi Klein
By Glenn Greenwald
Oct 19 2016
Some news organizations, including The Intercept, have devoted substantial resources to reporting on the newsworthy aspects of the archive of emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that was published last week by WikiLeaks. Numerous documents from that archive have shed considerable light on the thought processes and previously secret behavior of top Clinton campaign aides and often the candidate herself. While the significance of particular stories has been debated, there is no denying that many of those disclosures offer a valuable glimpse into campaign operatives who currently exercise great political power and who, as of January of next year, are likely to be among the most powerful officials on the planet.
Despite her agreement with those propositions, the author and activist Naomi Klein believes there are serious threats to personal privacy and other critical political values posed by hacks of this sort, particularly when accompanied by the indiscriminate publication of someone’s personal emails.
The fact that the individual whose emails were hacked wields significant power may mitigate some of those concerns, but, she believes, it does not remotely obviate them. She also believes that while a public service has been performed by the reporting on some of these emails, media organizations (including The Intercept) have not sufficiently emphasized the dangers to personal privacy posed by the hacking of someone’s email inbox.
Earlier this week, Klein and I discussed her views and concerns about these issues. The discussion has been lightly edited into a 30-minute podcast, which you can listen to on the player above. A transcript is also provided. Klein, invariably, is extremely thoughtful and insightful, and so I believe the discussion is well worth listening to.
This transcript has been edited for space and clarity.
GLENN GREENWALD: Hi, this is Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, and I am very excited that my guest today is one of the world’s most influential and accomplished journalists, activists, and thinkers, who also happens to be my good friend, Naomi Klein. Hi, Naomi. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk today.
NAOMI KLEIN: Hey Glenn, it’s great to be with you.
GG: So the principal impetus for this conversation is that over the last two or three weeks, there has emerged this spirited debate prompted by the publication of many thousands of emails from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Nobody knows for certain who actually hacked them. The U.S. government says the Russian government was involved — although they presented no evidence for that — but there are a lot of people who believe Russia was at least implicated in some way. Whoever did it gave it to WikiLeaks, which instead of curating any of it or trying to figure out what would be in the public interest and what wouldn’t, simply took it all and dumped it on the internet.