Why Wikileaks and social media have changed espionage

There has been a lot of talk over the past few weeks around Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, but amid the calls for treason and even for his death, there is one discussion that is not taking place. The key element to this story, and the one that seems to be getting overlooked by the media and the talking heads, began back in June when Wired initially reported on a U.S. Intelligence Analyst arrested in a Wikileaks video probe.¬†According to the blog, PFC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland was arrested for his involvement in posting classified videos to Wikileaks, and foreshadowed things to come when boasting to a former computer hacker that, “Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public.” Then came the massive release of documents at the end of November, and the promised release of more documents by Julian Assange, even as he is hunted across the globe for sexually related charges. There are enough people to write about the leaked cables, various diplomats, and the sex scandal. I am not here to write about that, and frankly have no interest in looking at any documents, considering they are still classified, and I don’t have a need-to-know. What I am interested in, and find to be the underlying story within this story, is the role of social media and the psychological factors related to PFC Manning’s alleged release of millions of classified documents. According to Wired, former hacker Adrian Lamo expressed this about Manning, “He was in a war zone and basically trying to vacuum up as much classified information as he could, and just throwing it up into the air.”

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