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The Intercept is not a propaganda machine run by Indians

It is an investigative journalism platform co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras

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Claim: The Intercept is an Indian propaganda tool run by an Indian named Sumi Agarwal 

Fact: The Intercept is an investigative journalism platform co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras. Pierre Omidyar, eBay founder and philanthropist, provided the funding to launch The Intercept in 2014. 

On 18 December 2023, X (formerly, Twitter) account with the handle @AhmadHassanArbi shared a tweet (archive) claiming that the investigative journalism platform, The Intercept, is an Indian propaganda tool, mainly run by Indians who are given key positions within the organisation, adding that it “is headed by an Indian named Sumi Agarwal.”  

The Intercept has recently gained popularity in Pakistan for breaking the news regarding Imran Khan’s cypher case, publishing details regarding the alleged cypher, and for claiming that based on an anonymous source from inside the military, they have received documents proving that a secret arms deal with Ukraine was negotiated for the $3 billion bail-out package received by Pakistan in July 2023. 

Fact or Fiction?

Out of the 35 members listed under the “Staff” heading on their About page, three members have Indian names – Prem Thakker, Rashmee Kumar, and Sumi Aggarwal. Aggarwal may be the Chief Strategy Officer, but she does not run the organisation herself. 

The Intercept is an investigative journalism platform co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras. Pierre Omidyar, eBay founder and philanthropist, provided the funding to launch The Intercept in 2014. 

The organisation has publicly shared their Sourcing and Attribution policy, Submissions policy, Corrections and Updates policy, and others on their website. They also publish financial information regarding the organisation’s expenses and revenue, including information on donors.

In addition to these, they publish annual diversity reports — 2022, being the most recent — where they state details about the gender ratio, average ages, race and ethnicities of all staff members. According to their most recent report, the organisation has 4.7% South Asians working for them at the moment, while the most prevalent racial group is White, with 60.5% of people in the team being White. 6.7% of their staff declared their race and ethnicity to be two or more races, of which 0% identify as South Asian or Indian. 

Given the comprehensive details which The Intercept regularly publicly declares on its website, and the annual staff demographic surveys cited above, it is misleading to claim that they are an Indian propaganda tool or that the organisation largely employs people of Indian origin within key positions. 

Moreover, the three co-founding editors and the current acting editor-in-chief Roger Hodge, are not of Indian origin and, therefore, the claim that The Intercept is entirely run by an “Indian”, the Chief Strategy Officer, Sumi Aggarwal is inaccurate.  

Virality

The tweet was viewed 38,100 times and received over 2000 interactions on Twitter. 

Conclusion: The Intercept is an independent investigative journalism platform, with a dominantly White staff. It does not employ “Indians” at key positions within the organisation, and is not a tool of Indian propaganda. 

Background image in cover photo: The Intercept

To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com 

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