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In-Depth interview: Reporter Jason Leopold Talks About “Snowden”, Clinton E-mails and CIA Torture Report

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Jason Leopold, investigative reporter for Vice News, returns to talk about Oliver Stone’s new movie Snowden, the continuing saga of Clinton emails, and The Guardian’s blockbuster report on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into CIA torture.
We open with a chat about the new movie, and some key parts of the story that have been added by Oliver Stone.  We learn about his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, and his early work for the CIA as an employee, then a contractor.  Leopold notes that Snowden operated at a top level at NSA, not the lowly “analyst” we’ve heard about.

We learn some new technical info, too, and NSA veteran Bill Binney advised Stone on technical matters, and says the film is quite accurate.  Snowden wrote some software that he was told was for “backup” and later learned that his code was used as a primary tool in drone operations.

Leopold discusses his new lawsuit against the IRS, asking for files on Donald Trump’s audits; like the Donald, Leopold has a secret strategy he’s not willing to divulge.

We get an update on the pending release of Clinton emails that had been deleted as “personal”, but were recovered in the FBI investigation; one group of those emails is marked classified, and I asked Leopold if he thought their release would be delayed until just before the November election.

And, we talked in some detail about Spencer Ackerman’s important series of reports in The Guardian, which you can find here, here, and here.  Leopold appreciates the credit for his reporting that Ackerman provides, and admits he’s a little jealous.

The series is focused on Daniel Jones, lead investigator for the Senate Intelligence Committee.  He asserts that the CIA not only lied to President Bush about their torture programs, but that they continue to mislead President Obama to this day.  We talk about Jones’ discovery of the “Panetta Review” which CIA didn’t intend to deliver to the investigators, and the constitutional crisis it provoked.

After the report was written, there was an intense fight to water it down and prevent its release in any form.  The most disturbing charges are that the Obama White House–and the president himself–made many efforts to suppress the report, and colluded with Republicans against Senator Feinstein in her rare moment of courage.