Writes Malcolm Gladwell in "Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, and the Modern Whistle-Blower/From their backgrounds to their motivations, the two men have some striking differences." There are leaks, left unprosecuted because they camouflage plants from our government. But then what of hacks? Hacks are something else altogether — and that's the big difference between Ellsberg and Snowden. Ellsberg was a leaker. Snowden is a hacker.
Leakers... are interested in using and exploiting secrecy: they believe that secrecy, by its preservation and strategic violation, serves an essential purpose. The hacker, on the other hand, is a skeptic of secrecy. The anthropologist Gabriella Coleman has described hacking as the “aesthetic disposition” of craftiness and guile. “When lecturing to my class one security researcher described the mentality: ‘You have to, like, have an innate understanding that [a security measure is] arbitrary, it’s an arbitrary mechanism that does something that’s unnatural and therefore can be circumvented in all likelihood,’ ” she writes.I was thinking about Gladwell's article when I was watching "This Week" this morning. Martha Raddatz was interviewing Donna Brazile:
RADDATZ: Well, do you bear any responsibility, does the Democratic National Committee bear any responsibility because they weren't prepared for something like this, or even have a chain of command going from, as you say, the Geek Squad up to more senior leadership.As I watched that live, I thought Brazile said "leaked" then caught herself and substituted the word "stolen." I think she did not mean to say "leaked." That made me suspicious! Did the truth slip out?
BRAZILE: There's no question. I took full responsibility, Martha. I went to the Democratic convention. I spent the entire month of July, August apologizing because of the leaked, stolen emails....
Here, I've clipped out the precise point. Check my suspicion:
I hear resonance with what Julian Assange said the other day: "Our source is not the Russian government... We’re unhappy that we felt that we needed to even say that it wasn’t a state party... We have ... a strong interest in protecting our sources, and so we never say anything about them, never ruling anyone in or anyone out.... [W]e’ve had to come out and say 'no, it’s not a state party. Stop trying to distract in that way and pay attention to the content of the publication.'"