Edward Snowden, interviewed by Jane Mayer during The New Yorker Festival in 2014.
Photograph by Bryan Bedder — Getty Images for The New Yorker

NSA whistleblower thinks some curation might be in order.

By David Meyer
July 29, 2016

WikiLeaks is on a bit of a roll at the moment, most notoriously with its release of thousands of emails and even voicemail recordings from the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic party’s donors.

It has also recently released emails from Turkey’s ruling party, prompting WikiLeaks’ blockage in that country, and tweeted out a link to an unredacted database of most female Turkish voters.

And Edward Snowden, the famous National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, thinks Julian Assange’s whistleblowing pipeline is taking things too far.

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“Democratizing information has never been more vital, and WikiLeaks has helped,” he tweeted. “But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake.”

WikiLeaks lashed back, accusing Snowden of opportunism in the hope of winning a pardon from Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. It also said that curation should not include “censorship of ruling party cash flows.”

Assange’s operation has not only released the DNC emails and voicemails; it has also published a searchable database of Clinton’s emails from back when she was secretary of state.

Both Snowden and Assange are currently trying to avoid being sent to the U.S. to face trial over data leaks.

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for over three years, to avoid being extradited to Sweden for questioning over sex crime allegations—he is adamant that Sweden would then give him to the Americans.

Snowden is in Russia, where WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison helped him get asylum after the U.S. canceled his passport (he was trying to get from Hong Kong to South America after revealing himself as the NSA leaker).

For more on Edward Snowden, watch our video:

While WikiLeaks often does not redact personal information from the data it publishes, Snowden has been relatively assiduous about working with journalists to publish only carefully chosen snippets of the NSA leaks, often with sections blacked out.

As things stand, many security experts think Russian hackers gained access to the DNC’s computer systems, apparently for a whole year, though not all agree that this means the Russian state was behind the hacks.

It is certainly the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not Clinton’s biggest fan, but the smoking gun in this particular episode has not quite materialized yet.

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