The Intercept Accidentally Hands Over An NSA Informant To The NSA
Being a leaker, an informant, an inside man/woman, is becoming more hazardous by the minute. No longer is it enough to give yourself a porny nickname like Deep Throat and meet in poorly lit parking lots wearing a trench coat; angry government agencies can and will track you down with the smallest sliver of information. Leakers have to be able to trust the journalists they contact to protect them at all costs. So of course The Intercept wandered into the very agency being leaked from, dumped the incriminating evidence on their desk, and politely asked if they could have a look.
In May, a contractor working for the NSA anonymously leaked a top-secret report to The Intercept concerning the extent to which Russia meddled in the 2016 election. You've probably already forgotten about this because following news about Trump is like playing a shell game in which the prize is your hope. However, because The Intercept could not verify the authenticity of the report, they asked the NSA if they'd mind taking a look at copies of the actual documents and confirming that they were the real thing. The NSA obliged and took a look at the report, before swiftly arresting the awesomely (though now sadly ironically) named Reality Winner for violating the Espionage Act.
What happened? It turns out that the National Security Agency takes its security a bit more seriously than your average FedEx. Instead of handing out confidential reports willy-nilly, they encode their documents with a watermark showing when and where each page was printed.
You can read it yourself, if you are a robot.
When The Intercept handed the leaked report over, all the NSA had to do was decrypt the watermark, check the print logs, and swing the jet 'round to Nebraska and take Winner on impromptu vacation to their nearest black site. As of now, Winner is awaiting trial for alleged crimes which could put her away for up to ten years. The Intercept, to its credit, has since tried hard to help Winner the best way they can, claiming they never had any contact and apologizing to their source, whoever he (or maybe even she) is. That's it, The Intercept, just do what they rest of us have been doing under this government: pretend Reality has nothing to do with it.
When he isn't shamefully hiding his own terrible secrets, Adam tweets on Twitter and faces on Facebook.
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