Assange vs. Washington Post – Whose Crimes are Greater?
I have never really been a fan of Julian Assange or Wikileaks. His stated mission seems to be to publish as much government secret information as possible and maximize the embarrassment of the U.S. Government. As a former intelligence officer, we are natural enemies, since the potential harm he could do to my former colleagues, and indeed America, is vast and far reaching.
Assange is charged with a variety of crimes, hacking and colluding with traitors, etc. They are serious crimes, and he may have to serve many years in jail when its all done.
But it occurs to me the Washington Post, and other mainstream media outlets are certainly guilty of similar crimes.
Follow my logic.
When WaPo cites an “anonymous source” isn’t that source often traitorously revealing confidential, sometimes even top secret, information that is restricted within the White House, information that they would be fired for revealing?
Often that information is exceedingly damaging to those who run our government, and is used, not to informed their readership of an important issue, but rather for cynical political purposes, to support the political agenda of the media outlet.
Hmmmm… Assange is at least an idealist who believes he is on the side of angels. And, in fact, he has released information that has exposed some very dangerous situations within our own government. It is with grudging reluctance that I admit that we may be better off for his efforts.
But while the Washington Post uses anonymous sources sometimes for the public good, most of the time they use them to collect information whose SOLE PURPOSE is to embarrass the President politically. WaPo is NOT idealist, they do NOT believe they are on the side of angels, they purposely and cynically engage in biased political discourse.
And in case you don’t recall, the Washington Post collaborated with Edward Snowden, arguably the worst thief of top secret government information in history, and certainly much worse than anyone Wikileaks published (Wikileaks did not publish his original material, but they collaborated with Snowden later). Did anyone go to jail for that? Are there any WaPo writers under indictment? No
The fact is that we have long tolerated dirty tricks and unethical behavior in the mainstream media, for the obvious reason that they are powerful and trusted by their readership. A media backlash against a politician has always been a feared phenomenon, and few politicians have the guts to stand against them. Trump is the rare exception.
But further, as intelligence officer turned publisher, I believe there is value in allowing journalists leeway in pursuing a story. I believe that strict enforcement in every case would cause damage to the “fourth estate” and make it less effective as a counterweight to (what is potentially) government propaganda. We are purposely a “noisy” society because we have seen that strictly “orderly” societies (like Hitler’s Germany and the old Soviet Union) do not work well for very long. Freedom is messy and full of exceptions. We allow for exceptions sometimes if the intentions are good.
However for the last two years, I believe the Washington Post has been guilty of criminal acts to advance its biased political agenda and to launch propagandistic narratives. Its corruption of government officials to betray the White House as “anonymous” sources it certainly no worse than Assange collaborating with hackers who have hacked into DNC networks. And it has been shown over and over again the Washington Post has not been entirely partial to the truth.
The only reason Assange’s head is on the chopping block is that he is not a mainstream journalist. He is an outsider, he doesn’t follow a liberal agenda, he has not maintained the altruistic journalist’s facade. If he had those liberal outlets at his back, he would not have had to spend seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy, and he would not be in custody now. But Assange is a media orphan and is easy pickin’s for his enemies.
Once again, I don’t like Assange, and I don’t like the Washington Post. But either they both should go to jail, or neither.
But what do you think? Who is guilty of the greater crimes? Assange? Or the Washington Post?