Headline March 17, 2018/ '' 'DIRTIEST 'LEAKS' TRICKIEST' ''


BUT THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL leaks and many of them more like floods - are those that wield political power. The diplomatic cables Chelsea Manning gave to WikiLeaks in 2010 shed light on the hidden world of diplomacy.

Edward Snowden's National Security Agency documents, shared with journalists in 2013, prompted the White House and then Congress, to set new limits on the surveillance of Americans.

The Panama Papers, leaked to German newspaper in 2015, prompted investigations of tax evasion  and money laundering around the world.

On balance, these gargantuan disclosures seem largely beneficial - even if not all diplomats, intelligence officers and tax layers would join the applause. But the big leaks of the current era are not all about war and peace, government oversight or financial equity.

For journalists the catnip appeal of scoops can overwhelm careful judgment about the value of the disclosures and problematic questions about sources.

What about Sony Pictures leaks - an act of vengeance by the North Korean leader for an insulting movie - which exposed mostly gossip, business secrets and employee Social Security numbers?

What of the leaks of personal information from Ashley Madison.com which help facilitate extramarital affairs.

What, for that matter, about the 20,000 Democrats National Committee emails and 20,000  more pages of emails to and from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, that Mr. Stone is accused of lying about?

That breach, weaponized by Russia in the midst of a presidential contest, illustrates well the ambiguous nature of such intrusions.

The leaks were, after all, not disinformation, even if they were obtained by criminal means. The  email were real, which was why they drew so much media attention. ''Four of the Juiciest Leaked Podesta Emails,'' USA Today trumpeted a month before the 2016 election.

The New York Times was only a little more demure : ''Highlights From the Clinton Campaign Emails.''

The leaks gave Mrs. Clinton cause to regret that she had not released the speeches she had delivered  to private companies, which were now made public under the worst possible circumstances.

It was agony for  top Democrats   whose private, sometimes  snarky comments were aired.

For  Donald Trump and his supporters, including his old friend  Mr. Stone, the  emails  were a campaign boon, a justified public airing of hidden Clinton truths.

For future  political historians , they may offer a  few meaningful tidbits of insight into the  Clinton campaign.

Yet the leaks cannot be separated from those who made them happen A foreign  intelligence  service  intervened  with significant impact on behalf of one side in an American election.

Imagine that Russian officials had ignored Mrs. Clinton and instead hacked and published documents exposing Mr. Trump's epic tax dodge and secret payments to paramours. Even die-hard Trump partisans might recognize that the race could have come out the other way.

A different thought experiment, however, maybe more timely. How would the leaks of Democratic emails be viewed had the data been hacked or leaked by a disgruntled American - a false story that  Russia and Trump supporters pushed in 2016 - with no taint of foreign meddling.

More Americans might accept the leaks as regretable but inevitable political roughhousing.

American political operatives, we recently learned, have begun to imitate Russia's 2016 operations on  social media , with two experiments in the 2017 Alabama Senate Election

So it is almost certain only a matter of time before Americans try out the hack-and-leak technique as  well, as any student of the old old-school campaign dirty tricks can tell you.

Just ask Roger Stone, who wrote in his book ''Stone's Rules'':
''To win you must do everything.''

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.
See Ya all prepare for Great Global Elections and ''register'' on The World Students Society  :  wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter -E-!WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Leaks & Lambs '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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