Wikileaks qr


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Wikileaks qr

  1. 1. 8987 Global Perspectives Unit: Technology, Politics, & Ethics Wikileaks
  2. 2. Whisteblowers • People who expose wrongdoing in government and business. • May investigate issues or practices as outsiders or operate from within as employees. • External Ex: Upton Sinclair. • His early 20th cent. novel The Jungle exposed some of the filthy conditions and practices of the meatpacking industry. • External Ex 2: Rachel Carson • Her 1960s book Silent Spring presented the dangerous side effects of the pesticide DDT.
  3. 3. Whistleblowers Insiders • Internal: insiders who work for a government agency or a corporation and have access to its secrets who then reveal those secrets to a journalist • Ex: Jeffrey Wiggand • On February 4, 1996 he appeared on the 60 Minutes and stated that Brown & Williamson had intentionally manipulated its tobacco blend to increase the amount of nicotine in cigarette smoke
  4. 4. The Pentagon Papers • Daniel Ellsberg worked for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1964 during the Vietnam War • McNamara created a team of researchers to write what he called the Pentagon Papers, a 7,000-page history of the nation’s involvement in Vietnam from 1940 to the present, which was classified as top secret. • Ellsberg received a copy in 1969 and realizing that the government had been deliberately misleading the public about, Ellsberg copied all 7,000 pages and gave them to the New York Times
  5. 5. Pentagon Papers • Large excerpts were printed in 1971. • Fully aware he might have to face criminal charges, Ellsberg said he “could no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public” • President Richard Nixon called his actions “criminally traitorous,” and Ellsberg was arrested and charged with theft and espionage.
  6. 6. Pentagon Papers • The government, seeking to discredit Ellsberg, broke into his psychiatrist’s office and stole his records. • When this information became public, the judge declared a mistrial because of illegal acts by the government and Ellsberg was set free.
  7. 7. Watergate Scandal • Mark Felt was a senior FBI official in 1972 when burglars broke into the headquarters of the DNC at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. • The thieves were caught installing bugging equipment, and were revealed to be connected to Republicans associated with the Committee to Re- Elect the President (Nixon). • At first there was not enough evidence to connect the break-in to the Nixon administration until two investigative reporters from The Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, started meeting secretly with Felt, who at the time they referred to only as Deep Throat. .
  8. 8. Watergate Scandal Cont. • Deep Throat had access to info the administration would not allow to be released, so he spoke to the reporters only on the condition that he never be named. • It was not until 2005 that Felt allowed himself to be revealed as the source. • Felt’s actions contributed directly to the resignation of Nixon in 1974, since Felt provided information about the cover-up that led Woodward and Bernstein directly to the office of the president
  9. 9. Investigation of 9/11 Attacks • Thomas Drake was an agent working for the National Security Agency (NSA) when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. • Drake discovered that the NSA was secretly wiretapping the phones of U.S. citizens without a warrant, which is unconstitutional. • Although he brought up his concerns to his superiors, they told him not to worry about it. • Drake began secretly supplying a reporter from The Baltimore Sun with inside information. • When exposed, he was charged with espionage and faced thirty-five years in prison. • He fought the charges, and ultimately the government backed down. • He was found guilty only of misusing his employer’s computer.
  10. 10. Whistleblower Protection • The US government has attempted to create certain legal protections for whistleblowers while also recognizing the need to safeguard classified information and respect corporations’ rights to protect trade secrets. • In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a ban on federal employees making any disclosures to Congress without permission • In 1912, Congress passed the Lloyd-LaFollette Act. • The act permitted employees to provide information to members of Congress
  11. 11. Recent Whistleblower Protection • More recently, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1997 protects federal employees who bring to light any apparent wrongdoing and prohibits retaliation for doing so. • The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 instituted financial regulations following the near-collapse of the banking system in 2008. • The law “requires the [Securities and Exchange] Commission to pay an award … to eligible whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the Commission with original information about a violation …that leads to the successful enforcement of a covered judicial or administrative action.” • The law, which is available online at, also prohibits companies from attempting to punish whistleblowers.
  12. 12. Wikileaks /july-dec10/wiki_07-26.html
  13. 13. Wikileaks Overview • Founded by Julian Assange , an Australian with a long history as a computer hacker. • Early in his career, he was known for his strong convictions against corporate and government secrecy • Servers are based in Sweden, but volunteers working for the organization come from a number of countries. • Readers of WikiLeaks are free to view primary documents and arrive at their own conclusions based on the info presented. • Assange and other editors do provide their own commentary t explain jargon, technical information, and historical context. • It also provides news organizations with leaked doc weeks in advance of their release on WikiLeaks to allow journalists a chance to perform research and identify significant pieces of information.
  14. 14. WikiLeaks’ Notoreity • Gained international attention in April 2010 when it released video footage of a controversial incident from the war in Iraq. • On July 12, 2007, two journalists from Reuters and an unknown number of Iraqi civilians were killed when two U.S. helicopters fired on a group of suspected insurgents in the district of New Baghdad. • They then destroyed a nearby building with the missile strikes. • WikiLeaks received an encrypted copy of video footage from a camera on one of the Apache helicopters. • The video showed that U.S. soldiers mistakenly identified a wounded journalist and unarmed civilians as enemy combatants and shot them.
  15. 15. WikiLeaks’ Released Docs on Iraq & Afghanistan Wars • In 2010, they also posted more than 91,000 documents related to Afghanistan, known as Afghan War Diary (or AWD). • Featured classified reports related to various missions and actions including civilian casualties, “friendly fire” casualties, and candid assessments of Afghan and Pakistani leaders. • A few months later, they released 400,000 classified U.S. documents related to the war in Iraq. • Considered the largest leak of classified material in U.S. history. • Though most the information was previously known, surprise information included: • Cases of abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees by Iraqi security forces. • tracking of civilian casualties, though officials had publicly denied keeping count. • Both The New York Times and The Guardian published large stories featuring the Wiki docs
  16. 16. Source: Bradley Manning • U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning was arrested shortly after the docs were released. • In 2012, Manning said that he would plead guilty to some of the charges filed against him, which include failure to obey a lawful order, transmitting classified national defense information to someone not authorized to receive it, stealing government property, and aiding the enemy—the latter of which carries a life sentence. • In August 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 yerars in prison, though he was not found guilty of aiding the enemy
  17. 17. State Department Leaks• Then, tens of thousands of sensitive State Department cables and other diplomatic docs were published by some news providers to whom WikiLeaks gave an advance look. • Many of the docs contained unflattering assessments of world leaders made by U.S. diplomats. • Another doc revealed that Yemeni officials agreed to cover up the fact that the U.S. military has made multiple strikes on terrorist targets in Yemen by claiming responsibility for the strikes themselves. • At this time, a hacker group calling themselves “the Jester” shut down the WikiLeaks site • Most corporation (Paypal, MasterCard, and Visa) cut off payment • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed concern that Assange’s right to free expression was being violated through an effort to shut down WikiLeaks
  18. 18. Edward Snowden • Computer specialist contractor for the NSA who leaked thousands of files to The Guardian and The Washington Post • Most of the files dealt with the NSA’s surveillance programs of both foreign officials and domestic surveillance of meta-data. • Snowden fled to Hong Kong prior to the release of the files and then flew to Russia where he hoped to make it to Ecuador. • His passport was revoked, but Russia gave him temporary asylum where he continues to reside. • Reporters who were supplied with files continue to publish articles on the surveillance information
  19. 19. Assange’s Criminal Charges • Assange surrendered to British authorities carrying out a Swedish arrest warrant. • Two Swedish women accused Assange of sexual misconduct • He has repeatedly denied the accusations, claiming that they are part of a smear campaign • In June 2012, he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London • WikiLeaks continued their work in 2011releasing docs about Guantanamo Bay, detainees in Iraq camps, and millions of e-mails from Syrian government officials.
  20. 20. Ethics • es/february-11-2011/wikileaks-ethics/8125/
  21. 21. Ethical Questions • Main criticism = reveals info that damages the ability of nations to protect their own interests as well as their citizens. • For ex, Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King, has accused WikiLeaks of being a terrorist organization since it encourages acts of espionage. • Countries condemning WikiLeaks include Iran and China, both known for censorship, to nations famous for free-speech protection, such as the United States and France. • Even those groups who appreciate their intent worry about the lack of editorial analysis. • They argue WikiLeaks in unlike investigative reporting of the past that carefully scrutinized the info and created a story • For ex, Amnesty Intl condemned WikiLeaks for releasing the names of Afghanis who worked as informants for the US military
  22. 22. Ethical Question • Main praise = expose corruption and human rights violations • Assange has maintained that he does not know of a single case where info published on WikiLeaks was responsible for an individual being harmed. • Many supporters argue that WikiLeaks acts as a means for investigative reporting so it should have the same protections • Supporters include Republican Congressman Ron Paul, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, andRussian president Dmitry Medvedev and political activist Noam Chomsky.
  23. 23. Espionage Act • Originally passed in 1917, amended in 1918, and revised after WWII • One section criminalizes the disclosure of four very specific types of classified information, primarily relating to the government's cryptographic systems and communication intelligence activities. • This section makes it a crime to "knowingly and willfully communicate, furnish, transmit, … to an unauthorized person, or publish, or use," the information "in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government” • However, some argue much of this law is outdated • Digital technology and the Internet have significantly blurred, if not entirely erased, the lines between "communicating," "publishing," and "using" information.
  24. 24. Intent• Intent is often the main issue in Espionage Act prosecutions. • During World War II, FDR wanted to prosecute the Chicago Tribune for its 1942 story about a detailed Japanese plan of attack at sea. • It turned out the reporter might not have known the info was based on broken Japanese codes, so there was no guilty knowledge. • Likewise, the intent requirement ended the prosecution of two lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. • They'd been charged in 2005 under the Espionage Act for receiving and disclosing info about Iran's nuclear program. • In 2009, prosecutors dropped the charges, citing the "intent requirements." The defendants wanted to broaden awareness of Iran's threat to harm the U.S. • In contrast, opponents argue Mr. Assange has a willful mind on all the counts of the Espionage Act.
  25. 25. Bibliography • Crovitz, Gordon. "The Intention of Leakers and Publishers Determines Their Acts' Criminality." Espionage and Intelligence. Ed. Sylvia Engdahl. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "Wikileaks and the Espionage Act." Wall Street Journal 25 Apr. 2011. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. • Lowell, Abbe David. "The Espionage Act Is Unclear, Outdated, and in Need of Revision." Espionage and Intelligence. Ed. Sylvia Engdahl. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "Testimony." House Committee on the Judiciary, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. • "Whistleblowers." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. • "WikiLeaks." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 26 Mar. 2013.