Glenn Greenwalkd of Salon.com Quits CREW over WikiLeaks

The Salon blogger and civil libertarian (and sometime POLITICO critic) Glenn Greenwald has quit his post on the board of the liberal ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington over the group’s criticism of WikiLeaks.

Greenwald writes in his letter of resignation:

[T]he recent condemnation of WikiLeaks by Anne Weismann, purporting to speak on behalf of CREW, is both baffling and unacceptable to me. It is baffling because I cannot fathom how a group purportedly devoted to greater transparency in government could condemn an entity that has brought more transparency to governments and corporations around the world than any single other organization by far. And it is unacceptable to me because I believe defense of WikiLeaks has become one of the greatest and most important political causes that exists — certainly one to which I intend to devote myself — and I do not want to be affiliated with any group which works to undermine it.

Weismann, CREW’s chief counsel, sharply criticized WikiLeaks on Huffington Post, approvingly quoting a condemnation of the group as “among the enemies of open society because it does not respect the rule of law.”

The WikiLeaks controversy has explosed a gap between those on right and left who are sympathetic to the government’s secrecy concerns and those who identify more clearly as outsiders.

UPDATE: CREW executive director Melanie Sloan responds that Greenwald’s resignation is “quite welcome.”

“Glenn is using CREW merely as a foil for his own press ambitions rather than to make any real policy points,” she said, adding that she learned of his resignation from the press. “This is the second time recently Glenn has chosen to take his disputes with CREW public without discussing them with us.”

She accused Greenwald and other progressives of “demonizing us for disagreeing” on WikiLeaks.

“I guess the current position du jour is ‘You’re supposed to be on WikiLeaks side no matter what, and if you are varying from that, you’re terrible, you’re awful, you’re evil,'” she said.

Greenwald’s full letter is after the jump.

December 12, 2010

To the Board of Directors of CREW:

I am hereby resigning from the Board of Directors, effective immediately. I fully expected when joining the Board that CREW would periodically take positions with which I disagreed, and that was perfectly acceptable to me.

But the recent condemnation of WikiLeaks by Anne Weismann, purporting to speak on behalf of CREW, is both baffling and unacceptable to me. It is baffling because I cannot fathom how a group purportedly devoted to greater transparency in government could condemn an entity that has brought more transparency to governments and corporations around the world than any single other organization by far. And it is unacceptable to me because I believe defense of WikiLeaks has become one of the greatest and most important political causes that exists — certainly one to which I intend to devote myself — and I do not want to be affiliated with any group which works to undermine it.

I remain supportive of much of the work done by CREW and wish the organization nothing but the best.

Very truly yours,

Glenn Greenwald

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