Bankable stereotypes: Government regulators are imperious, hubristic, and unbelievably ignorant in proportion to the power they wield.
Recently friends and colleagues have asked for my takes on the Wikileaks phenomenon, especially as it applies to its release of classified information and data that our government claims will compromise our national security. The problems such an outlet presents to governments, important personages, and corporations are complex and hard to parse in order to attempt an assessment before even beginning to consider any feasible/practical solutions.
Here I want to focus on the recent release of 8K+ pages of CIA documents detailing the tools and some methods the CIA uses to capture every (written and spoken) communication within the US and those crossing its borders. Andrew Napolitano has detailed these activities and their legal bases, a process that has been active since 2006.
Before going further it’s important to understand that ‘wiretapping’ involves two major tasks – data collection/storage and monitoring. The former can and is overwhelmingly automated, the latter is mostly automated but ultimately involves human assessment. So for our purposes we can presume that our federal government intelligence community has over ten years of collected data on everything from emails, financial transactions, through telephone conversations.
So here is what we know about the latest CIA leaks -
- Someone provided Wikileaks with the CIA documents. There is no evidence that Wikileaks has ever used its own employees or agents to obtain documents from their source (legal owner, or legal third party repository). Wikileaks is the recipient and discretionary disseminator of such documents and/or the info/data contained in them.
- The latest CIA document tranche, labeled “Vault 7” by Wikileaks, was either 1) hacked remotely or 2) obtained by someone on the ‘inside’. Each means has its up and downsides. The CIA is acting as if it was an inside job. (more here)
- We do know the CIA documents from Vault 7 Wikileaks has made available to the world – the ‘public tranche’. We don’t know whether/if Wikileaks has provided more information in confidence to third parties from the unknown ‘comprehensive tranche’ (more here). Wikileaks claims that the comprehensive tranche is almost 100 times bigger than the public tranche and contains yet to be released computer codes related to the CIA hacking and monitoring tools named in the public tranche.
- We must presume that ALL the world’s bad actors have downloaded and are studying at least the public tranche of CIA documents – it would be imprudent to think and act otherwise. All of these governments and agencies have various capabilities to obtain, monitor, and place information on the internet.
- We presume the verity of the public tranche since the CIA and feds 1) have not discredited any of the released contents, and 2) continue to behave as if the release has done serious damage to their capability to surreptitiously capture and monitor the above described communications.
In assessing the role of Mr Assange and Wikileaks in this latest release, and such previous releases, it is important to distinguish between the party or parties that purloined the Vault 7 materials and those, mainly Wikileaks, who made possible their public dispersal. From my perch as a patriotic American, the criminals who originally stole the information and data are traitors, and their crime has definitely compromised to a TBD level our national security. They should be pursued, caught, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
To judge Wikileaks role we must first ask ourselves – As American citizens are we entitled to know how competent our intelligence agencies are in keeping the nation’s secrets when such mishandled secrets are already in the hands and known by our enemies, or should we continue in a state of blissful ignorance, trusting in the presumed yet non-existent capabilities of our intelligence agencies to secure their classified materials? In short, since our government agencies derive their power from and act under the watchful eye of our elected representatives, should American voters be the only ones affected (aided/punished) by such treasonous acts and incompetencies who are then to remain deprived of that information?
My answers to these questions are a resounding YES and NO respectively.
Given the above understanding and analysis, I view the activities of Assange and Wikileaks as those of an amoral conduit and welcome messenger informing me about important things which bear on my wellbeing, and which are already known to my enemies. Therefore I take all these self-righteous huffings and puffings by the lamestream media and our government as nothing but an attempted smoke screen to hide their own failures to correctly discharge the commissions under which they were formed and operate. Shooting the messenger is the last refuge of the incompetent.