My View: Why WikiLeaks Seals Our Fate in a World with No Privacy


The issue of WikiLeaks is more than a little ironic at this point.  When WikiLeaks emerged on the scene leaking government secrets, many who had opposed the war in Iraq applauded the release of many of those documents.

I admit it, I was a fan of the concept – the ability for people to become whistleblowers without facing retaliation.  In fact, the Vanguard has styled the concept of Yolo Leaks after WikiLeaks.  But I always foresaw the organization as focusing on whistleblowing of government excesses, not leaking private emails from campaigns and political parties in the hopes of swaying an election or carrying out a vendetta.

In the heat of a presidential race is probably not the best time to make this point – but what we are seeing is not a new era of transparency but the end of our private lives themselves.  I hope to take this discussion out of the realm of presidential politics, so I will back up to Edward Snowden.

In 2012, Edward Snowden leaked a huge amount of government secrets to reporter Glenn Greenwald (no relation).  It was called “the biggest leak of government secrets in history.”

Earlier this year, Ben Wizner, an ACLU attorney best known for representing Edward Snowden, was a speaker at the UC Davis Law School’s speaker series on surveillance.  His subject was “Democracy in an era of mass surveillance.”

My biggest take-home point from that discussion was the comparison of J. Edgar Hoover, who headed up the FBI for 50 years, with the ability of the national security apparatus to monitor private lives today.  And, while the current head of the NSA is not J. Edgar Hoover, he argued, “What I intend to argue today is that modern technology has liberated the security state from those vulgar methods.”

“What that means is it’s now technologically and financially feasible for governments to record virtually all of our movements, our communications and our associations and to store that information for later analysis,” he said. “Because surveillance used to be expensive and labor intensive, living this life of obscurity was the norm. Today it’s virtually impossible to opt out of tracking.”

The good news is there is now so much information on every aspect of private lives, it may be difficult to find the information they are looking for. There is a difference between passive collection systems and the meticulous record collection of past FBI agents.  But Mr. Wizner warned, “If we are going to connect all of the dots, they’re going to connect in hindsight.”

WikiLeaks’ release of the emails shows us a very scary future.  What they did was equivalent to eavesdropping on private conversations.  In fact, in a lot of ways it is far worse because you used to have to actively wiretap or plant recording devices to eavesdrop on someone’s private meeting.  Here, they simply hacked into a server remotely and extracted mounds of information.

This is tantamount to listening in on private meetings and strategy sessions.

The emails are way too politicized at this point, so let’s again back up a step.  Public record law is instructive.  Under the California Public Records Act, I can request emails from public officials discussing public policy.  However, there are exemptions here that limit access.

For one thing, legal advice from lawyers is considered confidential information.  Police investigations themselves are off limits, since the police rightly need a space to operate their investigations outside of the public light.  And there is a broader exemption for the deliberative process, which understands that the very types of conversations that WikiLeaks is releasing are what we might call “half-baked.”

Public officials need a space to deliberate about policy without every piece of that deliberation being disclosed to the public.

In prior years I have been involved in various levels of campaigns, from volunteer to media director, field director and campaign manager.  Much of that took place either before email or in the early days of email.  Most of our conversations were in person or over the phone.

But campaigns are raw moments.  There are times when people are frustrated, angry, stuff gets dropped, mistakes get made, strategy is devised, people throw out crazy ideas.  Really, this is no different than running a business or managing a non-profit.  There is a reason why you have discussions and deliberations, but you also have the control over the release of information.

It is not just to pull the wool over people’s eyes, it’s also to make sure that whatever official messages get out there are well thought out and consistent and agreed upon by the management team and the candidate.

What we are see are those raw moments of a campaign that were never intended for public consumption.  If you think you are gaining insight into the thinking of the campaign – while you may have a point, you’re also seeing a lot of noise that isn’t so meaningful.

Let’s again take this discussion to another place.  Think about the thoughts that you have in your head.  In a moment of anger, a lot of angry thoughts come out.  As adults, we learn not to act on those thoughts.  We weigh angry responses to more measured ones.  And what ends up coming out of our mouths is very different from the first thoughts in our head.

In an a complex organization, there are a lot of people with a lot of ideas on how to respond, and what we are seeing is the brain activity of the organization that was supposed to be private.  It is taken not only out of context in terms of a string of conversations, but outside of the context in which the thoughts and plans were given.  Many of these emails were reacting in real time to an evolving landscape – a landscape that looks very different today than it did when the words were originally stated.

The bigger problem is we have now seen that the private communications of a campaign, a party and perhaps the government itself can be breached and very efficiently disseminated to the public.  That means that anyone’s information can be breached in that way – businesses, governments, private citizens.

This gets back to the surveillance state because what WikiLeaks is now showing is that there is no private world at all.

What will that mean for future campaigns?  For one thing most will take steps to secure their email, but as we know that is a cat and mouse game and the hackers are often ahead of the good guys.  Campaigns are going to have to figure out a way to deal with this.

For me the bigger deal is that any communications we send electronically are vulnerable.  Not only that but, given the chance for recording cell phone conversations and surveillance with cameras in the public realm, once again our private lives are not private and I think we have really lost something here – and that this is inherently dangerous.

I know people revel in the concept of exposing their hated political figure as a bad, evil, manipulative and calculating organization, but the bigger danger is that if the Russians or WikiLeaks can get their emails, they can get our data and information about our lives and it means the government can do the same.

As Ben Wizner pointed out in his speech, “History tells us that the lockbox that safeguards all of this private information will be unlocked.”  Today it was the Hillary Clinton campaign, but tomorrow it may be you and it may be someone who wants to sink you in your private life or get their hands on your information for a variety of nefarious purposes.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Barack Palin

    I admit it – I was a fan of the concept – the ability for people to become whistleblowers

    Ha ha, until they blew the whistle on your political party.

        1. Barack Palin

          I for one want Wikileaks to keep it up because we can no longer depend on the press to persue these types of stories especially if it involves Democrat scandals.  Just look at some of the revelations that are now coming forward of Hillary being fed the questions before she’s interviewed, giving her the power to edit what airs, being fed debate questions, etc…..the examples of the collusion between the press and Hillary are endless.  Thankfully we have Wikileaks exposing some of her corruption.

          1. David Greenwald

            So you think hacking private emails is healthy for our democracy because it gets you the info that you want in the public?

        2. Barack Palin

          Yes, gov’t officials should be using highly protected approved email servers and not trying to game the system by using their own secret easily hacked private servers while sending confidential classified info.

  2. Tia Will


    I cannot tell whether you understand the bigger issue here or are just ignoring it for your own partisan purposes. Do you really not understand that this could equally well be happening to someone that you do support ? Were you equally as gleeful when Mitt Romney’s 47% statement was exposed broadly because of an obscured recording device ?

    For me, there is an issue here that transcends partisanship. Somewhere between the risk of total exposure of any communication that we digital transmit, and the total ability to obscure all communications is a balance that should apply to all, not just one side or the other. It is normal to be glad when the side that we favor is seen in a good light and our opponents seen in a worse light. But that should not be used to obscure the larger issue which essentially the balance between the need for privacy and the need for transparency.

    1. David Greenwald

      Well said Tia.

      For me, part of what I like to do with my columns sometimes is take a contemporary issue and push out past the current point of controversy

  3. Matt Williams

    In the ubiquitous communications world of today, is there any rational reason to expect any privacy at all?  Have we gotten to the point where we as individuals and as a society should eliminate the word “privacy” from both our lives and from the dictionary?

    1. South of Davis

      Matt wrote:

      > is there any rational reason to expect any privacy at all?

      It seems like it was just yesterday that I read the book in the link below (but is has been almost 25 years)…

      Just like I laugh at people who e-mail passwords and have people “hack” their e-mail I laugh at all the people that download “free” apps that track their every move.  I really laugh at the people that get the new Amazon Echo and think how great it is to come home and say “Alexa turn on the TV” that don’t realize that “Alexa” is listing to EVERY WORD you say and building a massive database so they can better market to you…

  4. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > I always foresaw the organization as focusing on whistleblowing of

    > government excesses not leaking private emails from campaigns

    > and political parties in the hopes of swaying an election or carrying

    > out a vendetta.

    The sooner that everyone realizes that BOTH major political parties are just criminal enterprises designed to get money to the top 1% that pays them millions in bribes (aka perfectly legal  “campaign contributions” and perfectly legal “speaking fees”) the better.

    Sure there is a tiny difference in that guys on the red team will create a few more logging and coal jobs where the blue team will create a few more more organic farm and solar jobs while the red team will make sure everyone getting an abortion has a note from Mom while the blue team will put a Planned Parenthood office in most High Schools.


    Everyone knows that Mitt Romney was telling the truth when he said that “47% of Americans are slackers who don’t pay taxes and will vote for the guy (or gal) that promises then a free smartphone” just like everyone knows that half (or more) of Trump supporters really are “deplorable” who are voting for the guy they think will “Make America WHITE Again”.

    The “political theater” that the media brings us (aka the highly rated red team vs blue team reality show every four years) requires that they pretend to be “shocked” when they find out things that they already know even more than a “real” reality show pretends to be “shocked” when the racist southern truck driver they picked to live in a house with a black gay NY artist makes a comment they find offensive.

    Most blue team members I know don’t care about and don’t even want to hear about the long list of horrible things the multi-generational Clinton or Brown political crime families do to steal our money and make their friends richer just like the red team members plug their ears when you tell them about how the multi-generational Bush and Romney political families have been helping rich friends get richer since before we were all born…

    P.S. It looks like it was not Russian or Chinese hackers that got in to Podesta’s e-mail but a bunch of kids after he e-mailed a password (as reported by the Sac Bee a couple days ago).

    P.P.S. I laughed when reading some of the DNC hacked e-mails this summer since after they found out they were hacked they “e-mailed” everyone new passwords (from the hacked account)…


    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      South of Davis,

      Excellent commentary! You make very important points, and clearly have seen past the fog into the reality of our barnyard. It doesn’t really make much difference to the sheep whether the power-mongering pigs wear red vests or blue vests.

      I applaud the work of both WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden. It seems that all governments are corrupt included our own, and eliminating the ability of government (and political parties) to hide behind a wall of lies is one way to start assuring we actually will have privacy and individual rights in the future.

  5. Sam

    “Public record law is instructive.  Under the California Public Records Act, I can request emails from public officials discussing public policy.”

    If I worked for a private company, then my work emails are the property of my employer. If I work for the government, I am working (and being paid) by the people and the people have access to all of my emails.

    “Public officials need a space to deliberate about policy without every piece of that deliberation being disclosed to the public.”

    I don’t see why unless those officials have some discriminatory reason they would like to hide since they should be deliberating if it is going to net help or hurt the public.

    1. Chamber Fan

      If someone stole your car, would it be alright for me to drive it around?  Why don’t we view intellectual property in the same way we treat physical property?  I think both Hillary and Trump are bad, but there are issues that transcend this election.

      1. Matt Williams

        Intellectual property is etherial.  Further the boundaries between your intellect and anyone else’s intellect are impossible to define.  To torture your “viewing” metaphor, when we view a landscape boundaries such as the horizon help us understand both the reality and context of what we are viewing.  When those boundaries and horizons go away, it is very hard to put what we are viewing into either context or order.

        I suspect we are entering (or have already entered) a period where the concepts of Moral Relativism come more and more into play in our daily lives . . .  that the decisions and actions we are confronted with in our daily lives do not derive from and/or build on objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances.

  6. Frankly

    The main take away from this article is what DP has already pointed out… the breathtaking inability for David and others to escape their ideological and political think-bubble and incorporate the more relevant and broader consideration.

    WikiLeaks is to be valued in a society where tyranny, corruption and collusion are rampant in government and there is a weak independent press to challenge the “facts” told the people.

    But the US does not have a weak independent press, it has a mighty press… but no longer independent.   This is probably the most telling and damning take-away of the WikiLeaks dump of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails… that the Democrat political machine and the most of the main media are so connected to be the same.

    Mark Liebovich covered this transformation in his book “This Town”.  I urge everyone to read it.  National politics spins and manipulates the general voting population like do the giant soda manufacturers manipulate consumers.  But instead of having to pay millions to the giant advertising companies on Madison Avenue, the Democrats just email their people put into leadership and editor positions in all the major “news” networks and the spin and manipulation begins.

    This is an unprecedented occurrence in the history of mankind.  We have nothing to compare this too.  Every other democracy of any form has a complete rancorous, skeptical, pointed and fully-independent national press and news media.  You can envision some secret meeting of top liberal Lakeoff and Soros millionaires during the Reagan 80s where in desperation noting their lack of voter-resonating messaging that they could only again gain power with a strategy to control and spin the voters into hypersensitive sheep to manipulate their views of events so that the other team was always to blame.  First take over the universities.  Next take over the media.   Read that Rules for Radicals book over and over again.   Carry the dog-eared version everywhere.  Divide and conquer.  Use tribalism to advantage.   War groups against each other and put the opposition constantly on their heels.  Eliminate the power of any grassroots constituency to break through winning hearts and minds.

    Our founders noting what has happened would rethink the First Amendment.  They believed the press would always be independent of and critical of government.  They saw this as a required component of the checks and balances required for the continued health of the Republic.  Now, noting all the corruption and collusion between the establishment Democrat Party, they would surely welcome WikiLeaks… and could make a great case that this is the modern model of what they intended in their mechanical design of our system of governance that had previously supported a free press.

    WikiLeaks now embodies what the First Amendment should protect… not ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Fox News, NYT, etc.

    1. tribeUSA

      Well said Frankly–seems to me a growing number of people see or suspect what you describe is going on; and at this point in history, Wikileaks of politicians, corporate and financial establishment titans, and government institutions (except defense) is a public service. I favor it whether Trump or Clinton suffers more from revelations; however I suspect that many more and much fouler information about HillaryInc and her Wall Street connections has been hidden–hopefully some of this info. will be released within the next couple of weeks so people will have a clearer view of this creature.

        1. Napoleon Pig IV

          I think one intent of the First Amendment is to assure that government is honest and stays within the bounds of its limited role in establishing and  maintaining civilized society. When the mainstream media becomes timid, intimidated, or simply sells out to government or corporate power-mongers, then the actions of organizations like WikiLeaks and individuals like Edward Snowden are an important public service.

          Also, I understand you are skilled at the nuances of language, but please realize that hacking the email account of the individual most likely to be at the center of lies and deceptions at the highest levels of one of two powerful political parties is not the same as hacking “people’s private emails.”

        2. Sam

          David- Those emails were not supposed to be on private accounts and should have been accessible to the press to begin with. Would you have a problem if three council members went to a Halloween party tonight at the City Managers house and the four of them spent the night discussing all of the issues on the agenda for the next council meeting? Would you except the explanation that it was deemed a “party” and not a meeting therefore it was legal or would you as a member of the press call them out on it and point out that what happened was illegal?

  7. Tia Will


    WikiLeaks is to be valued in a society where tyranny, corruption and collusion are rampant in government and there is a weak independent press to challenge the “facts” told the people.”

    I would have found this more credible had you included the other side of the equation as well. I will paraphrase so as to present both sides.” WikiLeaks is to be valued n a society where tyranny, corruption and collusion are rampant in government and the public sector which takes advantage of the laws and there is a weak independent press to challenge the “facts” told the people.

    1. Frankly

      I assume you messed up.  You mean the “private sector”?

      If so then I think there is a difference.  A private business is just that… a private business.  It started with private capital that would be at risk and private labor to make it successful.  The profit and wealth generated would result from production… the making of and trading of value that did not exist before.

      The other thing about private business that makes it not fit into this narrative is that private business is overseen by government.  Government has no other higher power.  The press used to provide the oversight of government.  Not any more.  So we should welcome WikiLeaks as the new oversight.

      1. Tia Will


        First you got my mistake correct.

         It started with private capital that would be at risk and private labor to make it successful.” 

        And I would agree with this if we had a true free market system. We are far from that. Some of our largest and most profitable businesses are either heavily government subsidized, given special breaks and “loopholes” by our government, or constitute a pipeline of well connected businessmen to government positions or government officials to high corporate positions.

        I are not talking about the small to medium size enterprise here, I am talking about the very top of each industry and if you doubt this consider what is now being touted at the very top political level as “being smart” or “just taking advantage of” , or “not doing anything different than others have done….” as though being within “the law” can be equated as “moral action”.

        Being “law abiding” is not the same as acting in a moral fashion regardless of which side of the political spectrum one is on.

        1. Frankly

          That is off by a mile.  I don’t care that Jerry Brown reads my thoughts on issues, I care that he, in his absolute power, can damage the company I work for as he has already done.  Too bad the press and media don’t report on that type of abuse of power.  In fact, the press and media today tend to assist with that type of thing… harming people and entities lacking identity as being supportive of the current political collective.

      1. Don Shor

        “I felt that as an American citizen, as a responsible citizen, I could no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public. I did this clearly at my own jeopardy and I am prepared to answer to all the consequences of this decision.” — Daniel Ellsberg

        Assange and Snowden fled.

        1. Napoleon Pig IV

          I don’t know about you, but I think that although Socrates was for the most part a wise man, he was an idiot to not flee when he had the chance rather than allow the government of Athens to murder him in the name of “the law.”

          Thus, I think Assange and Snowden made the right call. Doing a public service is commendable. Being a martyr is idiocy.

        2. Frankly

          This is weak and deflects from the actual question.  The decision to stay or flee is separate and secondary to the act of disclosing information for public good.

          1. Don Shor

            What is the actual question?
            There were significant differences as to the nature and volume of materials released by Ellsberg and Snowden. I assumed everyone knew that. Snowden put military and intelligence personnel at risk. Ellsberg’s documents largely dealt with internal policy discussions about Vietnam. Ellsberg stayed here and faced the music. Snowden fled and remains a fugitive from justice.

        3. Napoleon Pig IV

          “Snowden fled and remains a fugitive from justice”

          Another way to phrase this is “Snowden fled and remains a fugitive from tyranny.”

          I might also point out that the actions of Nixon and Johnson before him “put military and intelligence personnel at risk.” Ellsberg performed the public service of making that more obvious.

    1. Chamber Fan

      I disagree with Don on Snowden.  I think unlike hacking private campaign emails, exposing government surveillance and corruption is noble.  At the same time, I think Snowden should go to prison for his actions as we need to run our system by rule of law.

      1. Tia Will


         I think Snowden should go to prison for his actions as we need to run our system by rule of law.”

        I am very conflicted on this point. I believe in the rule of law. But what does one do when one truly believes that the law is corrupt, or that one’s own action is the moral course. I first encountered this dilemma at the time of the Viet Nam was when some where choosing to seek asylum in Canada rather than presenting for the draft. Which was the more moral action ? I still do not  know if one is always obliged to be willing to “pay the price” meaning “go to prison” or “sacrifice one’s own life” depending on your point of view for your moral beliefs.

        1. Napoleon Pig IV

          I believe that both those 18 year olds who chose to allow the government to draft them and those who chose to go to Canada made honorable choices. Personally, I think when a law is evil or stupid it should be corrupted. That does not mean I disrespect the rule of law. It means I think.

          I refer to 18 year olds because of the obvious fact that governments prefer their cannon fodder to be intellectually immature and likely to follow orders – at least for a while.

  8. Tia Will


    not just hacking political emails to uncover corruption.”

    Or hacking in order to sway an election so that one’s own favorite corrupt office seeker can win over the other. Let’s not pretend that all motivations of “whistle blowers” are noble, although some may be.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i’m book marking this as i believe your support is information specific at best.  you’re condoning a lot here.  theft.  hacking.  a foreign country attempting to influence the election.  you’ve sold yourself down the river and don’t appear to support the rule of law or fair elections.

      1. South of Davis

        DP wrote:

        >  a foreign country attempting to influence the election.

        We have proof that both Podesta and the DNC staffers were careless with passwords and no evidence that “a foreign country is attempting to influence the election”.

        I’m wondering what “foreign countries” DP thinks are hoping that a crazy narcissistic ego maniac becomes the next US President.


        1. tribeUSA

          Agree with SOD and Marina re: Hillary. I suspect this woman has psychotic breaks when she goes off her meds. If she is elected, I forcast that she will have a combination of physical & mental breakdowns severe enough that they will be impossible to hide; and then Bugs Bunnys evil twin will step into office.

      2. tribeUSA

        Yes, conspiracies of the left are ‘factual’; using the crooked media as the fact-checker.

        Conspiracies of the right are whacked out ‘theories’.

        Currently the western media has been coordinating a major propaganda campaign to whup up some Russiaphobia; this sentiment is being marketed with great success.

  9. Tia Will

    Wikileaks is exposing the truth.  It’s obvious some of our left leaning contributors here have a problem with that.”

    I simply do not see this as a partisan issue.

    I have no problem with “the truth” as long as what we have is the “whole truth”. We also have various revelations coming out that cast aspirations on the behaviors of others not involved in the Wikileaks revelations. So what we are left with is whose version of “the truth” has more relevance to those issues of most importance to us as individuals ?  That is what we have to sift through in every decision we make whether it is during an election cycle, or just plain as we make our day to day decisions on how to organize our own lives ( both private and public).

    1. Davis Progressive

      this isn’t about ‘the truth’ – this is about embarrassing people with a selected release of information that was never meant for public consumption.

      1. South of Davis

        DP wrote:

        >  this is about embarrassing people with a selected release of

        > information that was never meant for public consumption.

        Nixon never meant the Oval Office tapes to be “for public consumption”.

        I’m wondering if DP thinks DNC dirty tricks (like the way they made sure Bernie didn’t have a chance) are OK while RNC dirty tricks (like breaking in to the Watergate Apartments) should be punished…

  10. Barack Palin

    A few years ago when the group WikiLeaks had gained prominence, the Vanguardhad the idea of launching a local resource to allow people to anonymously and securely leak local information to theVanguardand the public that could shine the light on local public official and agency conduct and misconduct.
    However, at the time that proved to be overly ambitious financially and the idea was shelved.  But with the recent discussions locally regarding Chancellor Katehi and frequent anonymous source tips and leaks, we decided to revisit the issue.
    We are now launching Yolo Leaks – a way for sources to leak information to our journalists either by sending a message or files. The Vanguard will not require any identification and will not store source information.
    For now this information will only be accessible to theVanguard and its journalists. In time, this may evolve into a conduit for sharing documents and other information with the public.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “local public official and agency conduct and misconduct.”

      which is different from hacking into private emails and stealing the information and disseminating them.

      1. Don Shor

        Says the pot to the kettle.

        So you acknowledge that conservatives are ignoring concepts of right and wrong, and simply support this because the actions of WikiLeaks are on their side. The end justifies the means, evidently.
        So in the future, you can spare us your ongoing commentary about how hypocritical others are. Ok?

        1. Frankly

          The hypocritical argument might have some validity if not for the incredible evidence that the mainstream media is directly involved with the corruption and collusion and behaves more as an arm of the Clinton campaign.  Remember that it was the hacked DNC emails that proved to the world that that organization was corrupt and had colluded with the Clinton campaign to destroy Bernie Sanders.

          But sure let’s give the Clinton campaign more help to spin the story away from its basket of deplorable deeds to one where we start killing the messengers.

          1. Don Shor

            The hypocritical argument might have some validity

            It does. It stands on its own, regardless of your prevarications which follow.

            the mainstream media is directly involved with the corruption and collusion and behaves more as an arm of the Clinton campaign.

            The “mainstream media” gave the Republican nominee literally billions of dollars worth of free media exposure. How he chose to use that, of course, has not redounded well to the success of his campaign.
            If it’s collusion, and some kind of conspiracy, it’s remarkably inept.

  11. Barack Palin

    This is just so juicy that the left has their panties in a bunch over this because for a change we have an organization actually doing some investigative reporting over the corruption of the Democrat Party and their presidential candidate.  This is something the mainstream media would never take on and thankfully we have Wikileaks to expose the truth.

    Why aren’t we discussing the revelations that are being exposed instead of attacking the messenger?

    1. Davis Progressive

      when you steal stuff the focus is generally on thief.  in 1972 burglars broke into watergate to find documents by the dnc.  now 44 years later, burglars have broken into the emails of the clinton campaign and achieved what the burglars at watergate failed to do.  so why do you think the focus should be on the content, when the greater threat to democracy is on the actions.

      1. Frankly

        Ha!  The greater threat to democracy is the hacked emails?  What a crackup.  The greater threat to democracy is absolute political power that is unchecked because of a corrupt and collusive media.

        The volume in lefty criticism of WikiLeaks directly correlates with the volume of findings implicating Hillary Clinton and her crony machine of malfeasance.

  12. Tia Will


    instead of attacking the messenger?”

    I did not see any attack on the messenger. What I saw in the initial article was a genuine questioning of the effects of these kinds of invasions of privacy regardless of ideology. What I have seen you do is to single this out as though only one group of people could possibly be damaged by such processes and since you disapprove of them, you support the process. Again, you have chosen not to address what you believe happens, or should happen if a leader of your favored party is attacked in the same way.

  13. Davis Progressive

    bp – when it’s your campaign you’ll care about these issues, but you’ll have already missed the chance to speak out and it will be too late.

  14. Tia Will


    There is no moral relativity with liberals and their politics.  It is moral dynamism based on the current political opportunism.”

    Or maybe it is “moral dynamism” based on a sustained moral belief system.

    1. Frankly

      Morality is simply the opinion of right and wrong.  Shifting opinions for political benefit is hypocrisy.

      I would not welcome the hacking of email of political figures from a basis of standard conservative morality except for the breathtaking evidence of a media so blatantly liberal-biased and collusive with the Clinton campaign.  But for this latter point you and Don would be correct to label conservatives approving WikiLeaks as hypocritical.   But the opposite is the case here with lefties decrying the very type of whistle-blowing they tend to celebrate only because it hurts their candidate.

      1. Napoleon Pig IV

        Eric Holder going after mainstream reporters in an attempt to suppress First Amendment rights comes to mind. Hypocrisy is inherent in aspirations to govern, whether from the right or the left. Oink!

  15. Tia Will


    except for”

    For me there is no “except for”. You are choosing to ignore that part of our media the is twisting itself into pretzel shapes to defend, ignore, or justify the erratic actions and statements of the opposition to the Clinton campaign.


  16. Biddlin

    The government players, ours and everyone else’s, are minor league-ers. If I want to listen to most suburban households electronic and personal, including irl face to face communications, a few hundred dollars worth of electronics get me there. A private investigator friend has a portable hacker lab in his automobile. I was witness in a trial recently where the defendant had cloned the victims’ cell phones just by standing in line next to them at Starbucks and the local  movie theater. There is no privacy, as a practical matter. Get over it and live a life unshielded and unashamed.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      “Get over it and live a life unshielded and unashamed”

      Excellent advice except when a minority of those around us want to steal, commit fraud, or monger power. Then, the unashamed part works, but not the unshielded part.

      So, how about if a few of us just spend a little time with a hobby consisting of jamming the watchers, hacking the hackers, leaking illegitimately held secrets, and staying current on both legal and illegal technologies as a contribution to keeping the balance of power intact between the forces of “live and let live” and those of “screw the weak or oblivious”?

      It’s not easy to tell when agents of the government are wearing white hats versus black hats, whether said agents be judges, prosecutors, cops, administrative bureaucrats, intelligence officers, or contractors. “Eternal vigilance. . . ” Oink!

      1. Biddlin

        “jamming the watchers,”

        Sure way to get their attention.

        “hacking the hackers,”

        Just opening the door for them.

        ” leaking illegitimately held secrets,”

        You get to decide which secrets are legitimate and to whom they belong, right?


        “It’s not easy to tell when agents of the government are wearing white hats versus black hats, whether said agents be judges, prosecutors, cops, administrative bureaucrats, intelligence officers, or contractors. “Eternal vigilance. . . ” Oink!”

        I’ll ignore the lot and have another Pernod, merci!

      2. Frankly

        In current times our democratic republic is besought with tyranny backed by the point of the pen and not yet the point of the sword.  The antidote for tyranny backed by sword is clearly swords in opposition.   This is why tyrannical rulers seek to disarm the population.  But what is the antidote for tyranny by pen when the institutions designed to counter are infiltrated by the same tyrannical rulers?

        We must also consider that only secrecy and a deep lack of transparency create the fodder for hackers.  If our rulers were not tyrannical, corrupt, dishonest, cheating and looting… they would have nothing to lose with hacked emails.

        1. Don Shor


          I’m sorry, who’s the tyrant?

          corrupt, dishonest, cheating and looting…

          Must have missed it. Who are you talking about here?

        2. Napoleon Pig IV


          Excellent observations!


          Surely you don’t disagree that history strongly suggests that all forms of government drift toward tyranny once they grow sufficiently in power that the governed no longer have a practical ability to limit or to direct that power. Frankly’s distinction between the sword and the pen is quite important. It’s far better to effectively act while the pen is still relevant than to wait until forced to counter sword with sword.

          I don’t need to draw from obvious historical examples (Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia) or current, ongoing foreign tragedies (Venezuela, North Korea).  There are abundant examples of lesser abuses of power by our own government at the local, state, and federal levels. Transparency and information flow are highly valuable in limiting and reversing these abuses, as much or more now as they have been in our own recent history.

          1. Don Shor

            No, I don’t agree. And I consider this rhetoric hyperbolic. Our government is not tyrannical, nor trending towards it. I don’t see any parallels in your examples.

        3. Napoleon Pig IV

          “Our government is not tyrannical, nor trending towards it. I don’t see any parallels in your examples”

          Of course our government is not (yet) tyrannical, but it has clearly trended toward it many times. Where to begin? You know about McCarthy, right? And what about Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus in 1862? Internment of Japanese citizens?  Civil forfeiture? The Patriot Act?

          The fact that the U.S. federal government is not tyrannical is partly due to safeguards built into our Constitution, the vigilance and courage of individual citizens, and good luck – not because our political class is made of higher moral fiber than the political classes of other countries. The same applies to state and local governments.

        4. Barack Palin

          Some people might see it tyrannical that Hillary gets off scot free for leaking government classified info when others have had to serve time for much less.

  17. Marina Kalugin

    For anyone here who doesn’t think that the government knows all already, you are deluded.

    Even according to the Fed’s own docs they know who is illegal and who is not.

    Ed almost gave his life while doing the right thing.

    Chelsea Manning is not as lucky, though may be considered luckier since she is still alive….though the conditions she is subjected to now hardly count as living..

    More and more Americans are being killed every year for speaking out..  the higher the level and the following the more likely to fall over on the street without a single thing wrong in their bodies, according to official autopsies…

    In fact, there have been way more killed each year since before 9/11 than most people on this board and in this country may ever imagine.

    If not for Putin, Ed would be among the silent group silenced with their lives….due to the likes of Janet Napolitano and the likes of the Obama, Clinton, Bush etc regimes.


    PS> HRC knew she wouldn’t get busted for her illegal actions with the email server, Benghazi etc….because she is a “chosen one”

    1. Tia Will


      More and more Americans are being killed every year for speaking out..  the higher the level and the following the more likely to fall over on the street without a single thing wrong in their bodies, according to official autopsies…

      In fact, there have been way more killed each year since before 9/11 than most people on this board and in this country may ever imagine.”

      I have no idea whether or not you are correct in any of these assertions. I would love it if you would post your sources. And, no, I do not consider “do your own research” an helpful response.

  18. Marina Kalugin

    heck there are many who thought their lives were better under tyranny than after the USA “saved” them….many are now refugees all over this country and this planet….

  19. Marina Kalugin

    Thank goodness for Julian and wikileaks….anonymous and so many others who are not afraid to speak out…of course, I just heard anonymous is becoming a fascist group….and why not, hide behind sock puppets and masks and then you may be safer….no different than the KKK actually.


    though when I have shared that analogy on this board in the past, some took offense…..really? why not be open and honest or at least pretend to….when you are on here bashing others while hiding behind your own false name and sockpuppets?

  20. talexander555

    Mr Greenberg:

    I myself am somewhat disgusted by this election, which is essentially a battle of who is more corrupt.   As far as the EPA/FOIA, I disagree a bit with your quote as related to police investigations.   In your article you stated   “Police investigations themselves are off limits, since the police rightly need a space to operate their investigations outside of the public light.” 

    It is true that police investigations are off limits.   But I don’t think this is very democratic when combined with the “sustained silence” laws that sheild the police in virtually everything they do.

    These two circumvention of the 1st Ammendmet equate to the public being completely in the dark about officers who continue to work despite having been found  to have committed serious crimes.

    I completely understand that your point is NOT about this issue, and is more about what the Republican party is doing with emails in order to support Mr Trump.

    However, as someone who was a victim of recent (sustained) police misconduct, the FOIA is something that is near and dear to my heart at the moment.   I am perplexed as to how an officer who was found “guilty” of injuring me while driving while intoxicated (on duty) is allowed to continue to work in my current hometown.

    To me, getting to the heart of this matter should be my right as a citizen and aspiring journalist.    Like Trump, the city manager where I live has openly made fun of the fact I suffer from a mental disability.


  21. Marina Kalugin

    It is unfortunate that some have big mouths and get so frustrated dealing with the truly inane, that they may lash out inappropriately.

    Some of us, note I put myself into that category also, are at wits edge..

    When you are a public figure, the opportunities are endless to say something inane, and one can be sure that the folks on the other side of the fence are there to glom on to every word….

    And, if that doesn’t work well enough, then the editors can do their magic on the tapes and so on – to make it seem that Trump or the City Manager said something…..

    It is not easy to get to the bottom and the truth..

    But even in the PC world where I have been part of for over 46 years now….at UC Davis….stuff happens 24/7…

    Discrimination is rampant….and it is usually the entrenched good ole’ boys who are the worst at doing the deeds and covering them up.

    It is kinda refreshing to have more women “in charge”…we are most likely to stand up to wrongs and speak our minds.

    Some like Dr. Katehi finally gave up in her quest to make things better….

    The Napo was going to make her life so miserable until she gave in and resigned, that her family and friends told her….”it is not worth it”.

    We now have some of the oldest good ole boys in charge of the UC Davis.

    They are safe…they will never jeopardize their cush jobs by daring to say a word on the other side of what the Napo is espousing…

    One of them was a undergrad when I was ….and we have been friends since then….unfortunately, he was one of the worst Deans our college suffered through….and lucky for him, the one after him was way worse, and yet in different ways.

    Things happen for a reason…..sometimes even a lady has to scream to be heard…

    If not for Wikileaks, FB, go-pros, and cell phones, the massive corruption that has been drowning this country for many decades would be even worse than it is..

    Now, aren’t you all so glad I am enjoying a lazy Sunday and have had time to post again?

    yeah….wth is the F ignore button, right?


  22. Marina Kalugin

    the following is a sorta jewish family joke….I am not jewish but my current husband is…..and this is a true story…

    When my husband’s brother married a shicksa, the bride was talking to my mother-in-law and said “something like I sure hope my grandma is not coming to the wedding …..she hates Jews “.

    In response my m-i-l   says with a very straight face   ”   oh really, maybe she will die”.

    My hubby thought that was hilarious and yet when I have been trying to get him to cough up his personal accounts so I can finish the taxes, he is still refusing….and when I said, “if you won’t cough it up, then perhaps you could do me a favor and die”……somehow he didn’t think that was so funny..

    wth does have to do with wikileaks and privacy?

    My hubby makes a lot of money right now and cannot follow instructions, keep track of his expenses…..though he has a method for the income…

    We are likely going to overpay again….because we do report every dime…

    I am still today trying to get the info out of the creep…..perhaps he may get audited?   or perhaps he will die first?    should I be so lucky!

    The only thing certain in this country is death and taxes…

    Do not ever delude yourself of any privacy ever

    and be most careful with your family and closest friends….they will kill you if they can to save a buck



    1. South of Davis

      BP wrote:

      > Dem Operative Who Oversaw Trump Rally Agitators

      > Visited White House 342 Times

      He “only” met with President Obama personally 42 of those times (probably to talk about golf)…

      Nothing to see here, we need to move along (and start talking about the horrible things Trump has said about Rosie O’Donnell)…

      1. Barack Palin

        Ummm, did you watch the video?  It’s not a “theory”.  Both Foval and Creamer (the guy who visited the White House 342 times) have lost their jobs over this.

      2. South of Davis

        DP wrote:

        > good thing you have the right wing media to

        > report your conspiracy theories for you

        Both CNN and the Washington Post are reporting this story, do you consider them “right wing media”?

        One good thing about Wiki Leaks is that it will let more people learn that BOTH political parties are full of criminals who just want to get in power to funnel tax money to friends and family…

        1. Davis Progressive

          “These leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process and I will not indulge it,” Rubio told ABC News in a statement published Wednesday. “Further, I want to warn my fellow Republicans who may want to capitalize politically on these leaks: Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us.”

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