Sunday shows: What you missed

Punditry experts of "Meet the Press," "This Week" and "Face the Nation" prosecute Snowden and Greenwald

Published June 23, 2013 4:46PM (EDT)

This week, on a Breaking News! edition of the Sunday shows: Where is Edward Snowden right now? (He's on a plane to Moscow.) Where will Edward Snowden be going next, then? He's fast, Edward Snowden. And the most important question of all: should Glenn Greenwald go to jail for having Edward Snowden as a source, and also for having an annoying tone sometimes? ABC's "This Week," NBC's "Meet the Press," and CBS' "Face the Nation" will solve these questions, and more.

First up, "This Week": Fast Eddie Snowden is hot on the move. How does he keep "bedeviling" US officials like this? It's a "cat-and-mouse game," and the U.S. "lost this round," says the breaking news correspondent.

Host George Stephanopoulos is now talking to Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA. Mister General, Stephanopoulos asks, how did you let this guy out of Hawaii in the first place? Alexander is mentioning 9/11 and how Edward Snowden is making us vulnerable. "We are now putting in place systems" to track those with high-level security clearances. For example: "We've changed our passwords." Good luck, hackers.

What about WikiLeaks possibly helping Snowden out of Hong Kong? "I don't have any opinion about WikiLeaks," Alexander says. "I really don't know who these WikiLeaks people are other than this Assange person." He probably knows more about WikiLeaks. Weren't they just a couple of years ago bringing down the foundations of civilization, according to the government?

Also, too, there is no inappropriate surveillance, he says. NSA requires "probable cause and a court order" for any domestic surveillance. And man, is it hard to get those warrants in the FISA courts.

Now a roundtable, where we've got Richard Haass, "Baghdad Dan" Senor, Martha Raddatz, and others. Haass finds it "inconceivable" that the Hong Kong government acted independently of the Chinese government in letting Snowden go. He's deeply disappointed that the Chinese government would go for this "short-term" tweak of the U.S. government after a summit a few weeks ago when the Chinese president pledged better cooperation. Raddatz believes that the Chinese government just wanted this problem off of its hands.

Now Haass and Senor are trashing these… these "libertarians," a.k.a. people who think Snowden has made some interesting points. He's not a "whistleblower," Haass rages, "HE'S A FELON!"

Now Senor is talking about bombing Syrian airstrips: hey, it's not too late! Haass doesn't want that much involvement in Syria, because we've got a bigger issue "coming down the road in Iran." Man up, Haass, let's bomb them all. Senor adds that "we haven't had a real discussion in this country on Syria." This hasn't prevented Senor from making up his mind already.

Now time for David Gregory's program, on NBC. What is he covering? Oh, he is covering the breaking news about Edward Snowden, too. We are promised a roundtable later on about "President Obama's rough patch… is his second term slipping away?," so we'll skip that.

Evil terrorist monster Glenn Greenwald is on "Meet the Press," oh goodness. (Disclosure: I am a contributor to the Guardian US, where Greenwald writes.) He has made fun of David Gregory so many times before. Where is Snowden and where is he headed? He is on a flight to Moscow, as you just said, David Gregory, and where he's going is unknown. What else does he intend to do, Glenn? Gregory appears to be a CIA interrogator right now. Where's he at Greenwald? Where? Where. Where? Where's Snowden? Where?

(Interesting, Greenwald tweeted earlier this morning:  "Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?")

"I don't know what the government is whispering to you, David," Greenwald starts, but he has documents in his possession that reveal the government is violating the Fourth Amendment. The "real issue" for citizens and journalists is "why should we have to guess" what the evidence, rulings and processes of the FISA courts are.

What about Venezuela. Is he going there, Greenwald? IS HE? Greenwald doesn't know and even if he did he wouldn't tell you, Gregory. Besides, Venezuela has a "democratically elected government," though it does have "problems" in his political system. The question that needs to be asked is why the U.S. treats whistleblowers this way.

David Gregory calls Greenwald a "polemicist."

Hahahahaha, oh man. Gregory asks Greenwald why Greenwald shouldn't be charged with a crime. Wow. Greenwald is on the attack now. Why would "anyone who calls himself a journalist" even ask that question?

The question of "who's a journalist" with regards to "what you're doing" is up for debate, Gregory responds.

That was incredible.

Now we've got a roundtable with, who else, Rep. Mike Rogers of the House intel committee. He won't say Fast Eddie is "gone forever," and the government will use every possible extradition avenue available to it to bring him in. (We'd imagine that some other techniques may be rendered, if you catch our drift.) (Like they'd "render" him maybe.)

What about you, Sen. Tom Coburn, how are we going to catch this squirrelly Hawaiian fuck? He's not sure. Anyway, "we don't listen to anybody's phone calls," he says, "until we have a connection to a terrorist." (Is Glenn Greenwald a terrorist?) He praises NSA surveillance as a "well-run" "constitutional" program.

Gregory keeps asking everyone, with a bit of a sneer, "what about what Glenn Greenwald said?" Sort of like, "did you hear that idiot clown, guy who insulted me? Could you believe that?" The guests don't seem to want to get in the middle of this cat fight.

Now over to "Face the Nation," where the news keeps breaking. Major Garrett hears from the U.S. government that it is in contact with Putin. Could this be a trap for Snowden? Probably not, but we'll see. Putin usually prefers to troll the United States for significant lengths of time, after extracting information.

Schieffer asks John Dickerson how the hell Snowden thinks he's helping his cause by "flying off" to Russia or China or Cuba or Venezuela or where ever. "It doesn't," Dickerson says. As he "runs around and looks like he's guilty," he doesn't endear himself to the hearts of the American people. CBS' Bob Orr talks about how "damaging" the information released has been already. And that bit about how the U.S. and Britain were spying on Medvedev at the G8 meeting? That was totally embarrassing! And that's what matters, under the law: whether you embarrassed people.

Back to "Meet the Press," where Carly Fiorina says she believes the IRS and NSA scandals "have something in common." Thanks, Carly Fiorina. (Jesus Christ.) Chuck Todd is standing up for his boy David Gregory, believing that Greenwald has many "questions to answer" about his relationship with Snowden. NBC News is trying to turn Glenn Greenwald into a criminal, for aiding and abetting a traitor. It's something else.

And now we cut to a commercial, and afterwards, David Gregory says, we have another important story from this week: Paula Deen. Yes PAULA DEEN IS VERY IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW.

Thanks for joining us!

By Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

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