Leaking Like a Sieve   Leave a comment

This article about a young NSA operative who leaked classified documents is exactly what I’ve been saying about the Deep State and how there doesn’t need to be a “conspiracy” for this organization and others like it to undermine the democratic process the US has operated under for 230 years.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/how-did-accused-nsa-leaker-reality-winner-get-security-clearance-n768816

When the news broke that Reality Winner, a 25-year-old NSA contractor with an apparently heavy social media presence, had been charged with leaking a classified document to reporters, many people wondered: How does someone so young have a such a top-level security clearance?

It’s actually very common.

“The vast majority of people who do the National Security Agency’s intercept work, who translate and analyze — most of them are fresh out of high school,” said Matthew Aid, an intelligence historian who has written about the NSA. “There are thousands and thousands of 18 to 21-year-olds doing critically important and secret work around the world.”

Related: Feds Arrest NSA Contractor in Leak of Top Secret Russia Document

The NSA is a military intelligence agency, and many of the people who work on the front lines of intelligence gathering in the military are young enlisted personnel. If they are eavesdropping on anyone from a terrorist in Afghanistan to a Russian colonel, they need a very high security clearance. The equipment, the methods, the words they hear — are all highly classified.

So it was that Winner, a former Air Force linguist fluent in the languages of Afghanistan, found her way to a job as a contractor at an NSA facility in Georgia. She was arrested at her home Saturday for alleging leaking a document about Russian hacking of U.S. electoral systems that was published in a story by the Intercept on Monday afternoon.

The issue that Winner’s arrest highlights is not her age, current and former intelligence officials say — it is what they perceive as a cultural shift that has led a small but growing subset of spy agency employees to break the ultimate organizational taboo, and share secrets with the public and the news media.

There have always been American spies who have betrayed their country for money. Now, from Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden to Reality Winner, a new class of rogue employee has emerged: People who decide there are secrets the public needs to know, and take it upon themselves to share them with reporters.

Image: Reality Winner poses in a photo posted to her Instagram account
Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for sending classified material to a news organization, poses in a picture posted to her Instagram account.Reality Winner / Instagram via Reuters

“It’s a new kind of insider threat that the agency can’t defend against,” Aid said.

And it’s getting worse, he added, in part because “Donald Trump and the change in the political scene in America has created an environment for a lot of people who feel that they have to DO something. You become an instant activist.”

We’ve invested a lot of power into the hands of mere mortals who now pick and choose what it is that we the people need to know. Edward Snowden did the nation a favor by opening our eyes to what we should have known was going on all along. At this point, I don’t know if Reality Winner (yeah, that is apparently her real name, which might tell us something about her) told us something we needed to know or if she “leaked” false information meant to further destabilize the country. I’m withholding judgment until I know more.

It still circles us back to the question … what happens if we do reach the point where the democratic process of the United States is overturned. Do we honestly believe that if the “right” politician “wins” and is allowed to impose her power against the “rural hicks” who wanted someone else, that the country will be better for it?

We have either got to get away from this subjugating different parts of the country under the guise of majoritarian politics or we need to admit it doesn’t work and declare a peaceful divorce with amicable terms.

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