Welcome To The New League Of Leakers — Courtesy Of Edward Snowden

from the courage-is-contagious dept

Whistleblowers are hardly a new phenomenon — Wikipedia lists dozens of the more famous ones, going back to the 18th century. There have also been important government whistleblowers before — people like Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou. Chelsea Manning‘s leak was on a huge scale, and garnered enormous media attention. And yet there is no doubt that it is Edward Snowden who has really changed the whistleblowing world most dramatically.

Because of what he leaked, and the way he leaked it — the fact that he has evaded arrest, and is still free, even if living a somewhat circumscribed existence in Russia — Snowden has ignited debates at multiple levels. As well as the obvious ones about surveillance, privacy, power and democracy, there’s another one around whistleblowing itself, which has already had important knock-on effects. Evidence of that comes in an interesting post by Bruce Schneier, where he tots up the likely number of leakers that have recently started to provide information about the US intelligence community. Alongside Manning and Snowden, he thinks there are probably five more:

Leaker #3: The person who leaked secret documents to Jake Appelbaum, Laura Poitras and others in Germany: the Angela Merkel surveillance story, the TAO catalog, the X-KEYSCORE rules.

Leaker #4: “A source in the intelligence community,” according to the Intercept, who leaked information about the Terrorist Screening Database, the “second leaker” from the movie Citizen Four

Leaker #5: Someone who is leaking CIA documents.

Leaker #6: The person who leaked secret information about WTO spying to The Intercept and the New Zealand Herald

Leaker #7: The person who just leaked secret information about the U.S. drone program to The Intercept and Speigel.

Schneier’s post gives links for all those stories, as well as his reasons for thinking they are likely to be separate people (although he notes numbers 3 and 7 might be the same person.) As he concludes:

Way back in June 2013, Glenn Greenwald said that “courage is contagious.” He seems to be correct.

It’s almost as if people taking extremely high risks to leak important information about dubious activities by the US intelligence community has become normal. That’s really pretty remarkable, and show just how big Snowden’s impact has been.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Comments on “Welcome To The New League Of Leakers — Courtesy Of Edward Snowden”

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Anonymous Coward says:

recruitment paradox

One of the problems for the US spy agencies is the people suitable to be employed by these agencies. US citizens, believe in their country, learned the constitution and history of the US all through their schooling, clean skins (no criminal record), intelligent, good, decent & loyal to the US.

But it is that loyaltity where the problem starts, are they loyal to the US, its founding principles & its constitution, or are they loyal to what their superiors say are patriotic US goals.

These Leakers’ are intelligent people that can think for themselves and can sniff out bullshit, especially Useful if you analyse intelligence.

I guess that the leaks will continue while their superiors by act and deed continue to abuse the principles or the country that their underlings hold dear. and remember these individuals keep their jobs because they have exceptional personal bullshit detectors.

I guess the solution would be to employ people with flexible principles (Like those who don’t have criminal record because they have not been caught yet). but that opens a different can of worms.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: recruitment paradox

I think this is a result of a system where the contact surface between politicians and the agencies, the surface between ethics and duty and the surface between the honourable workers and the higher management are cracking. It is a common occurance to see a separate pressure valve if a workplace lacks the internal trust between the workers and bosses and the workers feel a sense of ethical dilemma getting ignored or worse suppressed.

The most important solution to the problem will thus be a need for easier internal bottom up communication (working internal whistleblowing and some sense of getting heard) and a focus on explaining the ethical dilemmas and the chosen solutions to better understand the inevitable conondrums. More internal auditing of workers won’t work. The problem is systemic and needs a focus on making the bosses at least moderately receptive to internal input rather than running a pure funding campaign for third parties.

justme says:

May be simple minded.

I think the NSA or CIA should only have authority to collect information, they should never have authority to conduct operation’s. Any military or diplomatic actions should be left to the military, state department, or elected representatives.

Allowing these agencies to carry out operations has helped create allot of the resentment toward the U.S. around the world and left us with dealing with the blow back for decades.

GEMont (profile) says:

May your children live in interesting times.

Rant Warning

There is, and always has been, a subset of humans who literally thrive on dangerous adventures – from simply having sex in the subway, to explorers of the unknown places of earth and beyond, to undercover drug agents and government spies, to LRP soldiers.

Most of these “occupations” necessitate either pre-existing wealth, such as “explorers of the unknown” like the archeological forerunners, the Antiquarians – or a high level of training and support infrastructure such as astronauts, federal spies and law enforcement undercover agents.

Whistleblowing is however a unique exception, as all it really takes is insider information, and in today’s Corporate Controlled Civilization, everything depends on the loyalty of the myriad wage-earning minions necessary to keep the wheels of Global exploitation and misinformation turning.

Because the “system” depends on the hired Minions knowing what each of them must know in order to do their part in the Fascist liquidation scheme, every minion is also a weak link in the chain and a potential Whistleblower.

Of all the many ways that a citizen can attain notoriety, few offer the huge public appreciation available to those who take the incredibly moral path of the whistleblower, who places the public good above his own existence.

As the power of the Fascist state increases, so too will the threat of exposure by insider employees, and thus the punishment for such turncoat employees will eventually reach a “shoot on sight” level, as more and more of these danger seeking citizens choose to do the “right” thing and expose the corruption and crime of their employers.

Eventually, the public will also create a new “underground railway” to aid the whistleblowers both in their material expose of their employers’ crimes, and in their security against the forces of fascist government businessmen. This process has already begun due to the severe treatment of whistleblowers like Ms. Manning and Snowden, by the Pseudo-Democratic, Wall Street Administration of Barrack Obama.

Eventually, the public – armed with the knowledge of their tormentors agenda, garnered and disseminated by whistleblowers – will revolt against the ever increasing totalitarianism of the Fascist state, or the Fascist Billionaires will simply finish liquidating the nation’s wealth and move on to other nations, like a human plague, leaving the husk of America to rot in the sun.

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