WikiLeaks vs. National Security

Discussion in 'Wikileaks' started by justinacolmena, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. justinacolmena
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    justinacolmena Active Member

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    The crime of disclosing classified information is defined (as codified):
    Title 18 U.S.C. §798.
    The crime is actually rather narrowly defined, and this is done deliberately, in order to limit the government's power to arbitrarily keep secrets. I will summarize: to even have a chance of being prosecuted in court, the crime of "disclosure of classified information" must meet three general criteria
    1. be committed knowing and willfully;
    2. be prejudicial or damaging to the safety or interest of the United States;
    3. relate to codes, ciphers, cryptographic systems, or communication intelligence.
    The first of these is called mens rea. The second criterion is that both the motive for the crime and its end result must be damaging to the United States, possibly at the behest of a foreign interest. To be continued....
     
  2. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey BANNED Supporting Member

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    Good start.

    I loved my time in Fairbanks.
     
  3. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    The statute is also narrowly defined to limit the government's ability to use it to wantonly prosecute people for disclosing non-national-security-related information the government produces/obtains and that politicians (executive or legislative branch) would just as soon not see readily shared. Given that the 1st Amendment is the first one of the ten, I suspect imposing limits on the exercise of politically inspired tyranny against information sharing and freedom of expression is more the reason than is keeping secrets.

    Yes, I realize the two notions can be construed as two sides of one coin, but but let's not confuse the heads for the tails, as it were. The Founders' focus was on people's freedoms not government's secret keeping. That focus, by and large, has not among lawmakers ever wavered.
     
  4. justinacolmena
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    justinacolmena Active Member

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    Better hit the jake breaks on that one. Ol' Vladimir Putin can get down on his knees and beg and plead all he wants, but we are not willing to cede Alaska to Russia, so moving on...

    The third criterion is more general. The "classified information" must generally relate to codes, ciphers, cryptographic systems, or communication intelligence. To condense this down as much as humanly possible, the information must be derived from the secret communications of nation-states or from the systems that enable nation-states to communicate in secrecy.

    Let's go back to the mens rea. It cannot be some snippet of "test" information passed along with an off-hand remark or some caveat that "this is secret" or "this is classified." No. Header, footer, cover page are required to proclaim in no uncertain terms, "TOP SECRET," or whatever sort of classification is intended. Clearance, official briefing, indoctrination, the whole nine yards: official employment with the government with official "custody" in some respect of the information, and a clear demarcation between classified and unclassified domains so that that same classified information cannot be considered to have been improperly divulged twice, unless the second disclosure is sourced independently from within the classified domain.

    A newspaper reporter, for example, does not under any circumstances have any duty to keep classified information secret, except in the context of his or her employment at the news publisher, ethical journalism, and so forth.
     
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  5. justinacolmena
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    justinacolmena Active Member

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    So this is the second part, the actus reus: there has to be some point at which the crime actually occurred, so that the same offense is not counted twice. The intention do to something, and the act carried out.

    And a jury has to hear all this. So if the aforementioned classified information is alleged to have been disclosed already, what possible harm is there from disclosing it to the jury, or for that matter the public, since the defendant has a right to a public trial? Right?

    The information was allegedly posted on WikiLeaks and thousands of people downloaded it already, at least in Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning's case.

    The superficial argument, and actually my first impression of what happened was that this was a list of confidential informants to the U.S. military in the Middle East that became the Taliban's hit list. Good luck finding confidential informants if we cannot protect their identity any better than that!

    There are a few counter-arguments that are rather difficult to overcome in this case:
    • Anyone native to the area who hated the Taliban enough to inform on them to U.S. military was almost undoubtedly already on their hit list.
    • The information seems to have been made available with few if any restrictions to general population enlisted U.S. military personnel in enemy territory. There is no practical way to keep such information secret, and it does seem that the information would have to have been already declassified to be put to such use.
    • Smart informants may have taken steps and used established pseudonyms with relatives or other contacts in certain towns to communicate with the U.S. military. Some of them probably also change their names and move on a regular basis as a matter of course, with only the slightest wink of recognition from trusted relatives and friends -- They have been doing this for a long time. We have not.
    We have lost our tradecraft in the U.S. We need subterfuge, cover, disinformation, and "marked bills" when the enemy robs us of our classified information. Those top-secret nuclear bomb plans that the enemy obtains? It has to be a dud when they build it, or better yet it works in a test scenario, but fails in battle because something is intentionally wrong but frustratingly difficult to find in the leaked plans. When multiple leaks are put together, we must still ensure that they cannot be assembled into the truth by the enemy.

    The Russians have this. They have been doing it for a long time, too. We still need to catch up. But we live with chains on our feet in America because most of the population has petty criminal and mental health records if not felonies: our justice system has been atrociously corrupted by the Russians.
     
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  6. Windparadox
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    Windparadox Gold Member

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    I like wikileaks. I've already downloaded hundreds of gigabytes of data from them.
     
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  7. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey BANNED Supporting Member

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    along with the government snooper virus
     
  8. justinacolmena
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    justinacolmena Active Member

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    The "government snooper virus" is real, no doubt, but on a more abstract, general level: by using WikiLeaks you are attracting government suspicion and investigation. That is all.

    I feel that it is necessary to clear the air in this post. It is not my intention to defend Manning or her or his deeds: I am not a lawyer, and that is not my job. Many of the issues I have brought up may be construed as possible arguments for the defense, even if they do not reflect my personal opinions.

    Manning, on active military duty, may have been placed in a situation where superiors, co-workers, and unknown associates were breathing heavily down her neck and forcing her to make poor "choices" where the alternatives were not as available as portrayed. At the same time, I do feel that that particular disclosure of confidential information was very damaging to the national security and defense interests of the United States.

    The transgender condition is extremely rare; so is any kind of prosecution in the United States for "disclosure of classified information." This cannot be explained away as a coincidence: thus there is probable cause to believe that this incident is part of a far greater conspiracy.

    We have communist sympathizers (Reds) in the U.S. military: today, "pro-Russia" activists or Putinistas. Vladimir Putin is as much a cold-war, hard-line, old-guard KGB communist as they come, and today he has incorporated a vicious Italian-style state-corporate fascism into his communist ideology, under the guise of a nominal limited-hang-out "capitalism."

    I feel that EFF is rather strongly pro-Russia; I have worked with them openly on certain minor outlying technical issues, and they are great people for that and so on and so forth. At the same time, I do not agree with EFF's strong pro-Russia political and military position. I am not on the side of Edward Snowden.

    For one thing, there is a certain deliberate confusion of the so-called "male-to-female" or "MtF" transgender condition with that of "gay males," from which I must disassociate myself. I have nothing against "gay men" other than that they must respect my space and my privacy and be taught repeatedly, again and again, in no uncertain terms, that no means no.
     
  9. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey BANNED Supporting Member

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    Sigh.
     
  10. justinacolmena
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    justinacolmena Active Member

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    One of EFF's activities I oppose is their agenda of requiring police officers to wear body cameras at all times and making all police body-camera footage public. I feel that this violates the privacy of individuals who wish to make anonymous reports in person to police officers, the privacy of witnesses and others interviewed by police, and the privacy of suspects who may be caught in embarrassing or silly poses or otherwise publicly ridiculed on camera.

    These public videos are used to corroborate unofficial criminal records sold on sleazy internet sites which appear to all intents and purposes to be immune from libel and slander suits. When certain records are ordered sealed or destroyed by the court for certain legal reasons, it is then virtually impossible to recall the body camera footage that was released publicly, and continues to adversely affect a person's employment prospects and enjoyment of his or her civil rights.

    Police body cameras are a tool; police need to warn suspects or interviewees that the camera is recording video and audio. Such a tool must be used with discretion and never, in general, without a warrant.
     

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