Impropriety in Government Hacking

It’s an obvious and well-known fact that governments hack each other all day, every day. While I think it’s stupid and potentially dangerous, it’s roughly the same as the rampant spying that exists between even friendly nations (ie Israel/US). I might not like it, but that doesn’t stop it from being standard. And if something is standard, then even my dislike doesn’t change the fact that it’s going to happen.

Now that I’ve established that, I feel it’s important to finally touch on the release of DNC materials to Wikileaks. Specifically, about how the DNC was so poorly led by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Make no mistake, this lady was incompetetant, irresponsibly, and stupid. And this leak in no way implicated Clinton or illigimized her candicacy. Again, just establishing our ground.

Moving on, let’s take a peek on the why and how. The US government is fairly certain, according to many sources, that the culprits were Russian government hackers. It isn’t concrete enough to get Obama talking about it and starting a serious diplomatic row, but it is concrete enough that nearly every source says it with confidence. As I said in the first paragraph, I’m not thrilled with international espionage, but it’s fair game at this point. Russians can hack the US. The US can hack Russians.

The problem comes with the release of the information. That’s an entirely different story that goes many directions. For one, the Russian government specifically timed this to hurt Clinton in the campaign. That’s fucked up. Even worse is the reason why. The Russians prefer Trump because he’d be Putin’s lapdog. So here we’ve got international espionage playing out in American politics, where the leaders of foreign nations are manipulating the citizens of the US for political purposes. I don’t like that one bit.

Then we’ve got Wikileaks. I was never thrilled with Wikileaks. While the anonymous and random release of information can be informative, it can also ruin some damn good diplomacy. And remember, diplomacy is what we have INSTEAD OF WAR. Diplomacy, even though it’s often veiled in secrecy and can seem undemocratic, is an excellent way to come to a thoroughly decent agreement that wouldn’t be possible if the discussion happened entirely in the public realm. Diplomacy saves lives. And when Wikileaks releases information, it’s not vetted, it doesn’t protect the innocent, it doesn’t consider the ramifications or care who gets screwed. Wikileaks just releases all of it.

It’s a lot like my opinion of Manning versus Snowden. Manning released a bunch of classified but not really important information in great big dumps. Snowden contacts reports to vet the information so he could disclose a very important thing being kept from the American people. Manning caused a bunch of problems without much payoff. Snowden responsibly informed the US and the world of deplorable world spanning spying that we all expected existed, but nobody could definitively prove.

And what does Wikileaks do now? They release information with the specific goal, according to Assange, of hurting Clinton’s campaign. This Australian national is attempting to butt into American elections by cooperating with Russian spies. Snowden might be living in Russia, accepting Russian aid, but Snowden isn’t helping them. No, that’s Assange and his personal vendetta, one that could put a stupid and dangerous president in power in the US.

That, of course, brings me back to Snowden. We need to end that travesty. Let him come home. Stop forcing him in bed with the Russians. It’s absurd. The man is a national treasure.

Back on track, my larger point is this: releasing information is good. Leaks are good. I will absolutely not dispute that. HOWEVER, using foreign hackers to manipulation the electorate is bad.

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