Someone Using A US Senate IP Address Edits Wiki Entry To Change Ed Snowden From 'Dissident' To 'Traitor'

from the it's-Wikipedia,-not-an-opinion-page dept

Last Friday, the Wikipedia entry for Ed Snowden received a small, but charged, edit.


[Click through to embiggen.]

The anonymous editor changed the word "dissident" to "traitor." The edit appeared shortly after Russia announced it would grant Snowden asylum. This would be run-of-the-mill vandalism except for one fact: the IP address linked to the edit traced back to the U.S. Senate.
NetRange: 156.33.0.0 - 156.33.255.255
CIDR: 156.33.0.0/16
OriginAS: AS3495
NetName: USSAA
NetHandle: NET-156-33-0-0-1
Parent: NET-156-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
RegDate: 1991-12-03
Updated: 2007-04-05
Ref: http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-156-33-0-0-1


OrgName: United States Senate
OrgId: USSAA
Address: 2 MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE, N.E. 6TH FLOOR
City: WASHINGTON DC
StateProv: DC
PostalCode: 20510
Country: US
RegDate: 1991-12-03
Updated: 2011-09-24
Ref: http://whois.arin.net/rest/org/USSAA
Government employees editorializing entries isn't uncommon. In fact, there's an entire Wikipedia entry devoted to the subject. But editorializing by editors using government IP addresses rarely goes unnoticed. Now, whoever did this may feel Snowden is a traitor but the verdict is still out (quite literally) on that. He's been charged with espionage but until there's actual court proceedings, he's nothing more than a "dissident" (although that term has its problems as well), albeit one the government would like to have back in the US as soon as possible.

Why bother pointing out such a petty edit? Well, if it wasn't for the IP address, no one would care. But it's a bit obnoxious when someone in the Senate offices somehow feels the government doesn't have enough power and takes it upon themselves to "set the record straight" by taking a swing at Snowden via Wikipedia.

(H/T to a handful of unnamed readers who sent this in.)



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    That's the Union Metro Station....or a building above it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    If this is true, it certainly cements the type of "fair trial" he'd be getting, if he had turned himself in.

    Thanks again Congress for proving what most of us already knew!

    Your incompetence is only shadowed by your arrogance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:26pm

    Rectified by minitru.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:28pm

    Mike Rogers?

    Man, Mr Rogers has been having a few busy weeks here denying and insulting people thinking that makes his point somehow valid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Transmitte (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    Weak. But then again, I guess their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:32pm

    Just another example of Government abuse, and why Edward Snowden's whistle blowing actions are so important. Without him, our children will never experience freedom of thought or expression.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    They'll probably blame this on some hacker (possibly Snowden) and use it as an excuse to push more anti-American legislation.

     

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  8.  
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    Greg (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    There has been a metric crap ton of activity on this page since then.

    Passage now reads "Some have referred to Snowden as a hero, whistleblower or even a dissident, while others have described him as a traitor."

    I would say that Wikipedia has put the hive mind to work on this one and found a description that is more about fact and free of opinion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    pixelpusher220 (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    Re:

    Bonus points if it's someone on the technology committees who doesn't understand how teh intarwebs works

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:02pm

    ...(among the many things I love)...

    And this is what I love about Wikipedia.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:05pm

    The Ministry of Truth

    The Ministry of Truth says that Ed Snowden has always been a traitor and spy. Ed Snowden was never employed by the NSA or any government agency.

    It would be funny if not so sad how the US is more and more like Orwell's 1984 every day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Internet Zen Master (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:07pm

    Re:

    Honestly, pointing out that there's four different common opinions of Snowden is actually the most accurate thing one could say on Wikipedia right now.

    The crowd that things everything the government does is automatically bad probably sees Snowden as a hero for (re)revealing some of the shady activities the most secretive agency on the planet has been doing for quite a long time, along with all the more recent surveillance-y shenanigans.

    Then there's the group who see Snowden as a traitor (most of them probably have security clearances and may have a little more faith in the government than others).

    For everyone else, he falls into the whistleblower/dissident category.

    So it's a pretty accurate description of Snowden's public image right now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Internet Zen Master (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    Before we get carried away here

    We shouldn't be too quick to accuse people in the US Senate/their staff of being responsible for editing Snowden's page just because the the change was made from their IP Address.

    This argument is almost identical to the claims made by Prenda Law and their ilk.

    Just because something came an IP address does not necessarily mean the owner of that address was responsible.

    That being said, the probability that the change was made by someone in Congress (or more likely, one of their tech-savvy staffers did it for them) is 51% at a minimum, especially considering the content of the wiki article in question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:20pm

    Pointing out that Snowden's whistle blowing has been highly politically charged in addition to revealing that those in our government are trying to white out over the real issues he exposed pushes Snowden from whistle blowing status to political refugee. Many, many, countries allow acceptance into their borders over that classification.

    So far what I see out of all this, is the US painting itself into a corner for the future. We are becoming what we claimed was repugnant of Soviet Russia.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:30pm

    No one in the US government reads the constitution's definition of Treason

    Apparently NO ONE in the US government can be bothered to read the definition of Treason, put in the US Constitution by the founding fathers themselves.

    The US government has NEITHER of these requirements against Snowden.

    1) Two witnesses who saw Snowden commit the crime. (no a ton of people who read about it or investigated it after the crime happened are NOT witnesses)

    or

    2) A confession by Edward Snowden in open court that he committed Treason.

    Without either of these things, Edward Snowden CANNOT be convicted of treason. The Founding Fathers put that in the constitution precisely because the 'treason' charge is a favorite weapon of dictators to get rid of people they don't like, and people who oppose them, by defining Treason as broadly and vaguely as possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    Re: The Ministry of Truth

    Nah, this is not Orwell, this is modern China.

    Kill the yellow plastic ducks since they are a symbol of something that never happened june 4 1989, never had several hundreds or thousands of civilian casualties and never can be remembered for tank man!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:40pm

    Re: No one in the US government reads the constitution's definition of Treason

    Snowdon has admitted to leaking the documents, so its only a matter of deciding of it constitutes a treasonous act.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: No one in the US government reads the constitution's definition of Treason

    OP already covered whether or not it's possible...

    Per Article III, Section 3 (again, already addressed by the OP):

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    Even if you could argue the first point, I'd like to see how you'd handle the second.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: No one in the US government reads the constitution's definition of Treason

    Of course given how the government has been using the Constitution as toilet paper for the last 15 or so years, it wouldn't surprise me to hear about a "double-secret" interpretation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Itstheurb, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=edward+snowden
    Edward Snowden,
    The guy releasing the information about PRISM to the mainstream media. One of the saviours of Internet along with the likes of Aaron Schwartz, and a historical figure to come.
    "Edward Snowden is a hero."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    what it shows, more than anything else is the pathetic bunch that have been elected as Senators! considering what they have been up to or not been doing, as the case may be, it seems to me that they are more at fault than Snowden could ever be!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Josh, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 2:02pm

    Snowden is a hero to the american people, but a traitor to the oppressive government.

    give him a medal, not a trial

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Before we get carried away here

    Except I'm pretty sure they don't run open WiFi networks from those IP blocks or give the general public internet access at all from there unlike is common from residential connections.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    Well the MAFIAA always said that an IP address equals a person or organization...

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    Re:

    It's the postal Square Building. There are senate offices on the 6th floor. The rest of the building is DoL and the postal museum.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Before we get carried away here

    You know your right, considering everything that has happened recently we should give the US Senate/their staff the benefit of the doubt, they have done absolutely nothing in regards to the Snowden situation that should ever make people consider that they don't have his best interests at heart. It's not like certain people have already declared him a traitor and want him punished before his trial has even begun, cause situations like that would really make people begin to doubt them when it comes to situations like this

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 5:00pm

    Re:

    Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    The government is well-versed in cover-ups. This employee, not so much. If someone doesn't know how to cover his tracks, what business does he have being on the internet?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 6:14pm

    The still have "mainstream" media playing lap dog to the narrative and not talking about the releases, except to say how horrible things will happen.
    They have software to manage sock puppets to put the narrative on social media.
    They were hoping no one would notice the edit, and this would complete keeping the public confused.

    In the alternate universe where congresscritters minds take them in all of that free time they have while they aren't fixing the fucking country or helping the public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 7:17pm

    Not sure if this is useful to anybody, but this is what wwd has to say about edits made from the same IP:

    http://wikiwatchdog.com/?#!search/en/156.33.241.5

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    techflaws (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 10:14pm

    So THAT's the kind of oversight Congress is supposed to have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Jason, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:25pm

    I could be wrong...

    ...but I believe the organization "USSAA" is the "Sergeant-At-Arms." Dunno if this sheds any light at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Old Fool (profile), Aug 6th, 2013 @ 12:08am

    Embiggen?

    Embiggen is a word invented by the Simpsons - it is not an actual word. Enlarge is acceptable, unless you are smurfletariastumblab.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Aug 6th, 2013 @ 12:37am

    Re: Before we get carried away here

    "This argument is almost identical to the claims made by Prenda Law and their ilk."

    Not really.

    First of all, the argument usually used by those people is that an individual can be identified by the IP address, which is utterly wrong. That's not the argument here, only that the IP address seems to be related to an organisation. Nobody's saying that the head of the DOJ should be held criminally for his employees' actions, which is usually the claim made in piracy cases against account holders even if they can prove that someone else committed the act of piracy (if one occurred at all).

    Secondly, because no individual is being held responsible, there's room for investigation. If the DOJ wished, they could perform an internal investigation and see who within their ranks is doing these things and discipline them or demand that they stop (assuming the actions weren't officially sanctioned, of course). Doing so would satisfy any claims against them, and at least make them look better by publicly realising that such shoddy attempts at altering the discussion will not work. No such soft solutions are offered to Prenda's victims - they're threatened with pay thousands now or pay more later.

    Thirdly, it's far less likely that IP spoofing, router hacking, etc. is a serious problem at a place like the DOJ than in a domestic situation - or at least it should be. An professional organisation with enterprise level equipment and full time dedicated IT staff is in a far better place to avoid common security issues than random pensioners who barely know how to connect to the internet, let alone change their router's settings from factory default. So, assuming all of the above staff are competent, they should not fall prey to most common attack vectors and thus it's more likely that the IP is indeed under their control.

    Even without the above, there's a huge difference between claiming that an organisation is potentially responsible for some shady activity and holding individuals financially responsible for huge sums of money just because their name's on an account, even if the evidence used is the same.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Aug 6th, 2013 @ 12:41am

    Re: Embiggen?

    It's a perfectly cromulant word.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Senate Authority Acts Properly

    When is the last time anyone wrote that about someone in the senate acting without fault?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    Snowden is no hero to the American people. All he did was open a huge can of worms that in the end is going to make it harder on the American people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    will, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    snowden edit

    newfags...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 6th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re:

    I think you may be confusing the government with the people here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Capital Wretch, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    Re:

    It's the Postal Square building across First street.

    I will bet it is an intern playing around during recess.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Mike, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    That Same IP Address Noted by Bloggers for YEARS!

    That same senate IP address has been noticed for years to anonymously comment, ostly on OBAMA Postings, even before he was elected to the Whitehouse ( Here's a Sample"

    http://english.sxu.edu/sites/kirstein/archives/147

    Welcome United States Senate Sergeant at Arms: Peace!
    Posted on November 28, 2005 by Peter Kirstein
    I think it interesting that three of the hits to my blog came from:

    U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms
    OrgID: USSAA
    Address: 2 MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE, N.E. 6TH FLOOR
    City: WASHINGTON DC
    StateProv: DC
    PostalCode: 20510
    Country: US

    They accessed my site from using an Icerocket search engine for “Obama.” I had commented critically on the Illinois junior senator earlier in the day in the posting directly beneath this one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 6th, 2013 @ 10:56am

    This ought to be good.

    Snowden is no hero to the American people. All he did was open a huge can of worms that in the end is going to make it harder on the American people.

    Oh, do elaborate, please!

    So many of us seem eager to give up our privacy, perhaps on the premise that we're not targets (we will be) and that the department of justice will adjudicate perfectly (they're terrible at it now).

    Our nation was founded on the premise that people in the government cannot be trusted, hence the checks and balances system to make sure that no one could wreak too much havoc.

    This was before corporations became large enough to capture all three branches, and cause them all to fail.

    The barbarians aren't storming the gates yet, mind you, but the gates are looking pretty tattered for their inevitable arrival.

    So yes, do tell how Snowden was at fault for revealing to the public how our government is sabotaging our nation's future. This really should be something to read.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Mike, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 10:57am

    Senate Sargeant of Arms is Terrance Gainer at that IP Address

    Search "Terrance Gainer + Obama" and see lots of Pictures of these two buddies together! Get a Freedom of Information Request on His Computer. The IP has Trolled Blogs and Others anonymously for years!

    Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer advised lawmakers Tuesday to refrain from the temptation to take their security into their own hands by carrying firearms following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) this weekend.

    "I don't think that's a good idea," Gainer said on ABC News' "Good Morning America," The Hill reported. "I think we should leave the law enforcement and security to those professionals."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    T, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Traitor to them, not to the people. To us, he confirmed that they broke the law. Of course, law to them is whatever protects them, not us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    sgt_doom (profile), Aug 6th, 2013 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Before we get carried away here

    Ya mean, sort of like, the US hacking into a Chinese IXP (Internet eXchange Point) and then originating cyber attacks from there, and claiming it was from China?

    Also a possibility.......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Re: Cromulant?

    Romulan croissant?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 6:58pm

    (Wonder how many US Senate "Sergeants-At-Arms" there are to the 65000 IP adresses.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 7:42pm

    It might not have even been anyone in the Senate. WhatIsMyIpAddress.com lists that address as having a "confirmed proxy server"

    http://whatismyipaddress.com/ip/156.33.241.5

    meaning there is likely some kind of publicly accessible proxy on there.

    That should be a riot when the new felony streaming law ultimately gets written and passed, and someone uses that proxy to send an illegal stream.

    That would be something to see the FBI descending on the US Senate building looking for an illegal streamer that was elsewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    robertsgt40, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 7:54pm

    Scott Ritter

    I'm getting a clearer picture. RememberScott Ritter? He was a weapons inspector in Iraq before the last invasion. Had good credentials. Ex military. Straight shooter. He was on Fox telling everyone Sadam didn't have WMDs. Next thing you know, they "find" kiddie porn on his computer. Never heard from him again. Great way to off opponents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Allen K, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 8:52pm

    Snowden

    Gov't wasting more time and losing the war of truth, yet another violation of our rights. The gov’t constantly violates our rights.
    They violate the 1st Amendment by caging protesters and banning books like “America Deceived II”.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by allowing TSA to grope you.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars.
    Impeach Obama.
    Last link of “America Deceived II” before it is completely banned:
    http://www.amazon.com/America-Deceived-II-Possession-interrogation/dp/1450257437

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Danny, Oct 10th, 2013 @ 1:21pm

    Traitor is more accurate.

    Quick reality check; Here's a brief primer on the English language:

    A "whistle-blower" makes a report of illegal or unethical malfeasance to the LEGITIMATE AUTHORITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR REGULATING the misbehaving parties.

    A "dissident" is a rabble-rouser to spreads public malcontent about something with which they disagree, and attempts to build support for their anti-government agenda.

    A "traitor" is one who skips both these steps, and takes confidential information which he was sworn to protect, and attempts to sell it to foreign governments in exchange for fame, publicity, cash and favor... ie, purely for personal gain or political activism.

    Selling him as a "whistle-blower" is just a misnomer that plays well in the media by fanning fears of government malfeasance, violations of constitutional rights, and privacy.

    Did this guy make attempts to file complaints through established oversight channels? Contact his congressman to discuss his concerns? Report violations of law to the FBI? Resign in protest? No. He downloaded as much data as he could take with him, and fled to China, Russia, anywhere that would give him sanctuary.

    Most 'traitors' are just maladjusted, paranoid crybabies whose careers aren't turning out to be as stellar as they believe their genius and charisma merits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Trend duvar kağıtları, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 1:49am

    Trend

    Oh! Wonderful post. Really this site is very helpful for all. I got few important helps from here and highly recommended it. Surely I will know my relatives and relevant competitors concerning this blog and will wait for more. Thanks a lot
    Trend Duvar Kağıtları
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    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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