Read Fortune magazines article on a new Oxford University study on how Russia influenced the 2016 US elections with robots
ABC NBC and CBS will interrupt their regularly scheduled daytime programming tomorrow to cover James Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Make sure to be by a television at 10 AM Eastern tomorrow, 6/8/2017, to catch all of the action live.
The Justice Department released an indictment of twenty five year-old NSA contractor Reality Winner yesterday, just a few hours after the Intercept posted a story based on a top secret document that described how the NSA believes Russian actors tried to hack into US voting infrastructure. Much is unknown, as the public is made to depend upon the potentially unreliable claims of government prosecutors, while Winner is held in jail without any contact with the public.
What we do know is clear: Winner is accused of serving as a journalistic source for a leading American news outlet about a matter of critical public importance. For this act, she has been charged with violating the Espionage Act—a World War I era law meant for spies—which explicitly forbids the jury from hearing why the defendant acted, and bars them from deciding whether the outcome was to the public’s benefit. This often-condemned law provides no space to distinguish the extraordinary disclosure of inappropriately classified information in the public interest—whistleblowing—from the malicious disclosure of secrets to foreign governments by those motivated by a specific intent to harm to their countrymen.
The prosecution of any journalistic source without due consideration by the jury as to the harm or benefit of the journalistic activity is a fundamental threat to the free press. As long as a law like this remains on the books in a country that values fair trials, it must be resisted.
No matter one’s opinions on the propriety of the charges against her, we should all agree Winner should be released on bail pending trial. Even if you take all the government allegations as true, it’s clear she is neither a threat to public safety nor a flight risk. To hold a citizen incommunicado and indefinitely while awaiting trial for the alleged crime of serving as a journalistic source should outrage us all
In an act of heroism recently a Defense Contractor, Reality Winner, has leaked documents to the The Intercept news organizations exposing details of how Russia hacked the US elections. Instead of the parade which she deserved, Reality was arrested this weekend at her home in Georgia by the FBI.
The 25 year old defense contractor speaks a number of Middle Eastern languages including Farsi and Pashto, and has top secret security clearance. An affidavit from the FBI suggests they tracked Winner down through a printed document first shown to them by staff at The Intercept whom were seeking to verify the document’s authenticity. The document appeared to be creased, suggesting that it had been printed by her office printer which left an invisible identifier on the document. After questioning, Winner apparently confessed to the crime.
Read the resulting article based on her leak at The Intercept here