Mission Statement

Mission Statement

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Federal Employees: If You See Something, Leak Something

https://theintercept.com/leak/

If you’re a public servant in Washington, you may be worried about what your job will look like after January 20 — who you’ll be working for, what you’ll be asked to do. You might be concerned that the programs you’ve developed will be killed or misused. Or that you’ll be ordered to do things that are illegal or immoral.

You may be thinking you have no choice — or that your only alternative is to quit.

But there is another option. If you become aware of behavior that you believe is unethical, illegal, or damaging to the public interest, consider sharing your information securely with us. History shows the enormous value of government workers who discover abuses of power collaborating with journalists to expose them.

Without leaks, journalists would have never connected the Watergate scandal to President Nixon, or discovered that the Reagan White House illegally sold weapons to Iran. In the past 15 years alone, inside sources played a vital role in uncovering secret prisons, abuses at Abu Ghraib, atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and mass surveillance by the NSA.

Those scandals only came to light — and led to reforms — because conscientious employees passed evidence of wrongdoing to journalists reporting in the public interest.

More recently, the public only learned that President-elect Donald Trump avoided paying federal income tax for years because someone anonymously sent his tax returns to the New York Times. And the public heard a 2005 recording of Trump bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy” because someone leaked it to the Washington Post.

The Intercept is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news website that was created around the vision that whistleblowing is vital to holding powerful institutions accountable.

We’ve taken steps to make sure that people can leak to us as safely as possible. Our newsroom is staffed by reporters who have extensive experience working with whistleblowers, as well as some of the world’s foremost internet security specialists. Our pioneering use of the SecureDrop platform enables you to communicate with our reporters and send documents to us anonymously.
As nonpartisan journalists, we don’t discriminate between Demo

The Deep State Goes to War with trump Using Unverified Claims, Dems Cheer

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/11/the-deep-state-goes-to-war-with-president-elect-using-unverified-claims-as-dems-cheer/

In January 1961, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this specific threat to democracy: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” That warning was issued prior to the decadelong escalation of the Vietnam War, three more decades of Cold War mania, and the post-9/11 era, all of which radically expanded that unelected faction’s power even further.

This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News.”

Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss, as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry, and damaging those behaviors might be.

Watch How Casually False Claims are Published New York Times, Nicholas Lemann Edition

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/10/watch-how-casually-false-claims-are-published-nyt-and-nicholas-lemann-edition/

Like most people, I’ve long known that factual falsehoods are routinely published in major media outlets. But as I’ve pointed out before, nothing makes you internalize just how often it really happens, how completely their editorial standards so often fail, like being personally involved in a story that receives substantial media coverage. I cannot count how many times I’ve read or heard claims from major media outlets about the Snowden story that I knew, from firsthand knowledge, were a total fabrication.

We have a perfect example of how this happens from the New York Times today, in a book review by Nicholas Lemann, the Pulitzer-Moore professor of journalism at Columbia University as well as a longtime staff writer for the New Yorker. Lemann is reviewing a new book by Edward J. Epstein — the longtime neocon, right-wing Cold Warrior, WSJ op-ed page writer, and Breitbart contributor — which basically claims Snowden is a Russian spy.

The book has been widely discredited even before its release as it is filled with demonstrable lies. The usually rhetorically restrained Bart Gellman, whose work on the Snowden story at the Washington Post won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, called the book “bad faith work” that is filled with “distortions” and “baseless and bizarro claims,” several of which he documented. I’ve documented some of the other obvious falsehoods in the book.

Washington Post Is Richly Rewarded for Fake News about Russian Hacking, Public Deceived

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/04/washpost-is-richly-rewarded-for-false-news-about-russia-threat-while-public-is-deceived/

In the past six weeks, the Washington Post published two blockbuster stories about the Russian threat that went viral: one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of “fake news,” the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false. Each now bears a humiliating editor’s note grudgingly acknowledging that the core claims of the story were fiction: The first note was posted a full two weeks later to the top of the original article; the other was buried the following day at the bottom.

The second story on the electric grid turned out to be far worse than I realized when I wrote about it on Saturday, when it became clear that there was no “penetration of the U.S. electricity grid” as the Post had claimed. In addition to the editor’s note, the Russia-hacked-our-electric-grid story now has a full-scale retraction in the form of a separate article admitting that “the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility” and there may not even have been malware at all on this laptop.

But while these debacles are embarrassing for the paper, they are also richly rewarding. That’s because journalists — including those at the Post — aggressively hype and promote the original, sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral, generating massive traffic for the Post (the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, recently boasted about how profitable the paper has become).
After spreading the falsehoods far and wide, raising fear levels and manipulating U.S. political discourse in the process (both Russia stories were widely hyped on cable news), journalists who spread the false claims subsequently note the retraction or corrections only in the most muted way possible, and often not at all. As a result, only a tiny fraction of people who were exposed to the original false story end up learning of the retractions.

Russia Hysteria Infects Washington Post Again about Hacking the US Electric Grid

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/31/russia-hysteria-infects-washpost-again-false-story-about-hacking-u-s-electric-grid/

(updated below)

The Washington Post on Friday reported a genuinely alarming event: Russian hackers have penetrated the U.S. power system through an electrical grid in Vermont. The Post headline conveyed the seriousness of the threat:

The first sentence of the article directly linked this cyberattack to alleged Russian hacking of the email accounts of the DNC and John Podesta — what is now routinely referred to as “Russian hacking of our election” — by referencing the code name revealed on Wednesday by the Obama administration when it announced sanctions on Russian officials: “A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials.”
The Post article contained grave statements from Vermont officials of the type politicians love to issue after a terrorist attack to show they are tough and in control. The state’s Democratic governor, Peter Shumlin, said:
Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality of life, economy, health, and safety. This episode should highlight the urgent need for our federal government to vigorously pursue and put an end to this sort of Russian meddling.
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy issued a statement warning: “This is beyond hackers having electronic joy rides — this is now about trying to access utilities to potentially manipulate the grid and shut it down in the middle of winter. That is a direct threat to Vermont and we do not take it lightly.”

Top-Secret Snowden Docs Reveals What NSA Knew About Russian Hacking

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/29/top-secret-snowden-document-reveals-what-the-nsa-knew-about-previous-russian-hacking/

To date, the only public evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacks of the DNC and key Democratic figures has been circumstantial and far short of conclusive, courtesy of private research firms with a financial stake in such claims. Multiple federal agencies now claim certainty about the Kremlin connection, but they have yet to make public the basis for their beliefs.

Now, a never-before-published top-secret document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden suggests the NSA has a way of collecting evidence of Russian hacks, because the agency tracked a similar hack before in the case of a prominent Russian journalist, who was also a U.S. citizen.

Guardian's Summary of Assange's Interview was completely False

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/29/the-guardians-summary-of-julian-assanges-interview-went-viral-and-was-completely-false/

(updated below [Fri.])

Julian Assange is a deeply polarizing figure. Many admire him and many despise him (into which category one falls in any given year typically depends on one’s feelings about the subject of his most recent publication of leaked documents).

But one’s views of Assange are completely irrelevant to this article, which is not about Assange. This article, instead, is about a report published this week by The Guardian that recklessly attributed to Assange comments that he did not make. This article is about how those false claims — fabrications, really — were spread all over the internet by journalists, causing hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) to consume false news. The purpose of this article is to underscore, yet again, that those who most flamboyantly denounce Fake News, and want Facebook and other tech giants to suppress content in the name of combating it, are often the most aggressive and self-serving perpetrators of it.

Newly Declassified House Intel Report on Snowden is Rifled with Falsehoods

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/23/newly-declassified-house-intel-report-on-snowden-is-rifled-with-obvious-falsehoods/

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday unveiled its full 37-page report on its three-year investigation into Edward Snowden, drawing even more criticism for conclusions that have been called biased by supporters of the former NSA contractor.

The report, released just days before a holiday weekend, is an extended version of a highly acerbic — and disputed — unclassified summary the committee published in September, describing the former NSA contractor as a “serial exaggerator and fabricator.”

Snowden and other critics have vehemently denied the report’s conclusions.

The House Committee authors allege Snowden’s concerns had more to do with petty workplace spats than moral uncertainty, citing interviews with his coworkers as well as his superiors — and suggest that he is not legally a whistleblower because he did not take advantage of internal channels available for formal complaints such as Congress and the inspector general.

Snowden quickly derided the report, which delves into his personal and professional life, often citing seemingly petty workplace grievances. He tweeted to his more than 2.5 million followers that the document is “rifled with obvious falsehoods” — citing reporting by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Barton Gellman, who has also criticized the report.