Whistling in the Dark

Trump and fellow idiots have been blasting Comey for "leaking" the contents of the memos he wrote.

Dana Gold, writing in Slate:

Trump kept up this attack on Friday, taking to his favorite medium to say, “WOW, Comey is a leaker!”

Meanwhile, NSA contractor Reality Winner is facing up to 10 years in jail because she allegedly mailed a classified document to the Intercept with evidence of an attack by Russian military intelligence operatives on the U.S. election system. What’s been missing from both of these conversations is a greater focus on what was being revealed, which should greatly influence how we think of and describe those making the revelations.

The shared NSA documents revealed that Russia had hacked a voting software supplier just days before the election. Comey’s memo, meanwhile, revealed an allegation that the president attempted to interfere in an ongoing FBI investigation—a charge the president now denies—potentially to the point of obstruction of justice. The media makes a mistake when it buys into the administration’s labeling of both these figures as leakers.

Leaking has become the default term for almost all unauthorized disclosures of information, classified or not, provided anonymously by employees to journalists. But not all leaked information has the same value. A more accurate description of both Comey’s and Winner’s disclosures is not leaking, but rather anonymous whistleblowing. The distinction matters.


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