Assange, Vault 7 and Millennial Leakers

William M. Arkin claims that WikiLeaks’ publishing of the so-called “Vault 7” trove of the CIA is what propelled the United States government to feel like it needed to take action against the organization.

With Vault 7, WikiLeaks published almost 10,000 classified documents from the Center for Cyber Intelligence of the CIA, the covert hacking organization of the U.S. government. For a number of reasons Vault 7 received scant attention. But coming on the heels of massive leaks by Edward Snowden and a group called the Shadow Brokers just months earlier, Vault 7 was the straw that broke the governmental back. Not only was it an unprecedented penetration of the CIA, but it showed that all of the efforts of the U.S. government after Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden had failed to either deter or catch “millennial leakers.”

The thread that ties everyone from Manning to the Vault 7 leaker to Julian Assange together is that they have all in some ways been radicalized by their frustration. Frustration with this very system, with its exclusiveness, with its lies, with its immunity to any accountability.

For Manning, radicalization started as the WMD debacle in Iraq became clear and as the war dragged on, the young twenty-something (with a Top Secret clearance conferred by the system) alarmed by the carnage and the seeming inhumanity. Snowden equally conferred as one of them with an even higher “clearance” was similarly driven to take matters into his own hands, radicalized by his perception of post 9/11 abuses that he felt the NSA had taken, and hadn’t been held accountable for.

Put aside WikiLeaks and the Russians. The unsealed indictment yesterday is just the tip of a giant iceberg on the part of the U.S. government (and its allies) to fight back against these (and future) non-conforming crusaders. After Snowden they mounted a multi-pronged (and multi-billion dollar) effort – including more internal surveillance and many administrative and systemic changes to information systems – to thwart “insider threats” from again extracting secrets. But the number of secrets had grown so big, and the number of insiders needed to churn through them equally had become so massive that they were not even able to police themselves. Even here, the government failed to control its own secrets, but is anyone saying (ironically other than Assange and Snowden themselves) that the secret keepers aren’t to be trusted to do their jobs?

Read More at William M. Arkin Online

Read the rest at William M. Arkin Online