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Note: This letter, printed in The Nation on November 24, 2010, is a response to Glenn Greenwald of the libertarian Cato Institute‘s attack on an article we published, titled “TSAstroturf: The Washington Lobbyists and Koch-Funded Libertarians Behind the TSA Scandal.”


Normally both of us, no strangers to controversy, view attacks on our articles like today’s by Glenn Greenwald’s as a badge of honor. But we’re frankly puzzled—and disappointed, if that’s the right word—that the source of this attack is Glenn Greenwald, whom we’ve followed fairly regularly over the past couple of years and whom we both respect.

Greenwald’s column raises one potentially valid criticism of our article—our treatment of John Tyner, the self-described libertarian and “don’t touch my junk” hero of the anti-TSA protests. Based on reporting from the San Diego Union-Tribune, we speculated that Tyner may have set up his taped encounter with TSA agents—a claim that we also quote Tyner denying. We did not, however, claim that Tyner was affiliated with the Astroturf and/or Koch-funded groups mentioned later in the piece, and indeed we noted directly that Tyner denied any such associations in an interview with The Nation. In retrospect, our article was less than clear about Tyner’s lack of Astroturf affiliations, and we regret in particular including extraneous details from the Union-Tribunearticle about Tyner’s past—that he went to a private Christian school and lived in a Republican community near a Marine base—because it distracted readers like Greenwald from the article’s main findings. (more…)

November 24th, 2010 | Comments (87)