3/10/12, "Above the law, Gleick and the Watergate Burglars," Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre
"Gleick as Hero
Much recent commentary has characterized Gleick as a “hero”, some invoking Ellsberg as a precedent. But a closer examination of Watergate events shows that Gleick’s conduct is more evocative of Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy than of Ellsberg.
Most fundamentally, both Gleick and the Watergate burglars were seeking the same sort of documents: donors’ lists and financial records of contributions, anticipating that they could show dirty contributions. There was nothing in Gleick’s search that was more elevated or more worthy than the Watergate burglars.
Both Gleick and the Watergate burglars used illegal methods, though Gleick used fraud and identity theft rather than burglary and photography. But it’s hard for Gleick defenders to construct an ethical theory that sanctifies Gleick, while criminalizing Liddy. If the Cause is just enough to condone fraud, then why wouldn’t it also condone burglary? (Other than burglary being a bit proletarian as a crime for the intellectual elite to which Gleick aspired.)
Nor is it easy to distinguish Gleick from Liddy through mere commitment to their respective causes. Liddy’s commitment to his cause was strong enough that he took a 20-year sentence without flinching or giving up his superiors.
The biggest difference between the two crimes thus far has been police and prosecutiral commitment. The Watergate burglars were arrested, charged and received serious sentences. They had expected protection from their backers, but didn’t get it. In contrast, despite Gleick’s admission to acts that appear to constitute identity theft and fraud, (to my knowledge) no police have seized Gleick’s computers at home or at work or, for that matter, even crossed the threshold to interview him."...via Tom Nelson