Seymour Hersh attacks ‘useless’ NSA over surveillance

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The role of investigative journalists remains crucial in holding power to account, even when that power is ‘incompetent’, according to veteran reporter Seymour Hersh.

“The whole purpose of what I think we should be doing is counter-narrative. They have their narrative, and we have to show there is another narrative,” said Hersh, in a keynote session at The Logan Symposium conference in London.

“Even if you can’t publish, the act of asking, the act of doing, the act of putting it down. It’s all about an informed society, and you’re not going to get informed by the leadership. That’s our function.”

Hersh, whose award-winning work include reporting on the My Lai massacre in south Vietnam and more recently the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, gave a sparky speech blending advice for young journalists and hackers with brickbats for the US National Security Agency (NSA).

“My view is very simple: the world since I have been old enough to read has basically been run by idiots, nincompoops, thieves… and unfortunately the solution is the idiots who run most of the mainstream media,” he said.

Hersh, who was interviewed on-stage by author and broadcaster Laura Flanders, said journalists should not run scared of bullying..

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