The startling carelessness about defending Ms. Winner was notably mystifying at a company that had been based on safety. Steps from Mr. Cole’s desk in The Intercept’s open-plan workplace within the Flatiron district sat Ms. Clark and Micah Lee, main figures in digital safety. Mr. Cole didn’t contain them in any respect.
Mr. Cole and Mr. Esposito mentioned they’d been pushed to hurry the story to publication, however Mr. Cole additionally acknowledged that failing to seek the advice of with the safety staff was a “face plant.”
The Intercept’s leaders argued in 2017, and nonetheless contend, that the narrative laid out by the Justice Division in its prosecution of Ms. Winner was formed to make The Intercept — a thorn within the authorities’s facet — look unhealthy. And Ms. Winner’s personal carelessness — she printed the doc at work — might simply have gotten her caught even when The Intercept had been extra cautious. However additionally they knew they’d made actual journalistic errors.
And so a key query was who guilty for this disaster and what penalties they need to endure. Ms. Dombek, who undertook the interior investigation, concluded that the editors — Ms. Reed and Mr. Hodge — wanted to take accountability. Others, together with Mr. Greenwald, had been demanding that Mr. Cole and Ms. Reed be fired, and The Intercept present a public reckoning. (Mr. Greenwald later relented, and mentioned he understood the need to not “scapegoat” for an institutional failure.)
On July 11, 2017, Ms. Reed revealed a put up on The Intercept asserting that First Look would pay for Ms. Winner’s authorized protection. Ms. Reed additionally introduced that an “inner evaluation of the reporting of this story has now been accomplished.”
“We should always have taken higher precautions to guard the id of a supply who was nameless even to us,” she wrote. “Because the editor in chief, I take accountability for this failure, and for ensuring that the interior newsroom points that contributed to it are resolved.”
However the drama didn’t finish there.
Mr. Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, an investigative reporter who’s the third founding father of The Intercept, publicly demanded a extra thorough investigation, and in response to their stress, the corporate commissioned a second inner report, by a First Look lawyer, David Bralow. Mr. Bralow’s report, issued 4 months later, cited as central points the choice to share the doc with the N.S.A., Mr. Cole’s dialogue of the postmark and the publication of the figuring out markings.