Leaks and leakers

As you may know by now, The Intercept has published a file of highly classified material on Russia’s attempts to hack the US election system. It turns out the data was leaked by a NSA subcontractor, with the somewhat unusual name of Reality Winner. Evidently she was outed because she didn’t know that, by law, color printers print a set of invisible dots that show when and where the document was printed. Although some have questioned the veracity of the leaked report, Pat Lang is rightfully angered over the damage caused to US Intelligence collection by this leak.

The reports that she did this as part of her own program of resistance to the Trump administration only highlight that she must be incredibly naive, as well as ignorant of the Intelligence background to the information she was handling and the anti-copy features of today’s printers. This is what led her to expose information that it was her sworn duty to protect.

There are those who would say that she and Edward Snowden are in the same class — oath-breakers. There is a difference. She broke her oath of secrecy for momentary and fleeting political advantage. Snowden broke his oath of secrecy because of an oath to a higher power, the US Constitution. The two examples are not comparable.

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