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Heroes or Traitors? Snowden, WikiLeaks and Whistleblowers

Are whistleblowers traitors or heroes? goes undercover with series on the informants making headlines: Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and WikiLeaks; Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers; Edward Snowden, privacy, and the NSA.


Did Edward Snowden Divulge Too Much?

Ben Wizner, Ambassador R. James Woolsey, and Daniel Ellsberg discuss the number of documents released by NSA leaker Edward Snowden and if he could have accomplished the same result with fewer leaks.

The WikiLeaks Saga: What's Next?

National University of Singapore law professor Simon Chesterman explores what the future may hold for Julian Assange and Pfc. Bradley Manning, the major actors in the WikiLeaks affair.

Glenn Greenwald: Edward Snowden Will Never Be Safe in US

Glenn Greenwald, author of "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State," argues that the United States government is making an example of Chelsea Manning and Snowden to scare future whistle blowers.

Will the Privacy Backlash Lead to a 'Trust Revolution'?

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Hightail, and Daniel Debow, SVP at Salesforce, discuss the hot-button issue of digital privacy. Has the privacy pendulum begun to swing away from free information sharing?

Hearst and Bronstein: Obama's War on Journalists

William Hearst and Phil Bronstein discuss offensive measures taken by the Obama administration against whistleblowers and leakers, as well as journalists and their sources like Edward Snowden.

Spying: Who's Afraid of the NSA?

Should we be afraid of the NSA? Should we trust the government to do the right thing? Conversations on spying will undoubtedly be at the forefront of debate for years to come. In the meantime, watch the best of 2013 on spying, privacy, and surveillance and consider this quote by Benjamin Franklin: "They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

How Americans Feel About Spying and Big Data Collection

Edward J. Reilly, Global Chief Executive Officer of FTI Consulting, breaks down polling data on how Americans feel about privacy, surveillance, and big data collection.

What Was the Impact of the NSA Leak on the Web?

Rebecca MacKinnon, co-founder of Global Voices, discusses the possible ramifications of the Snowden NSA leak on internet usage around the globe. 

Assange: WikiLeaks Not Concerned with US Nat'l Security

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange says his organization is not concerned with whether the sensitive information it leaks to the public poses a threat to U.S. national security. "States have national security concerns, we do not," says Assange. "We have concern for human beings."

Fear Google More Than Government?

Richard Falkenrath and David Cole compare the government access to personal data to the personal data collected by internet companies like Google.

Brian Michael Jenkins: Security Must Trump Privacy

Terrorism expert and leading advisor to Rand Brian Michael Jenkins argues that while we need a a public conversation about security and privacy, security must restrict some civil liberties for the greater good. 

Pentagon Papers' Ellsberg on WikiLeaks Whistleblowers

"Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg weighs in on the case of U.S. Army P.F.C. Bradley Manning, who is currently accused of leaking over 260,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables to the website WikiLeaks.

"I recognized someone who was in the same spirit as I was forty years ago," says Ellsberg. "He's a hero of mine."

Julian Assange: Why WikiLeaks Is Taking on the Pentagon

Why is WikiLeaks releasing documents from the Pentagon, when there is no shortage of corruption elsewhere in the world? Editor-in-chief Julian Assange regards it as an issue of trust, explaining that he considers it the website's responsibility to publish any classified information likely to have a significant impact -- regardless of diplomatic origins.

WikiLeaks Cable Dump and the Function of Secrecy

Did the U.S. diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks belong in the public domain? Former diplomat Sir Richard Dalton argues no, that secrecy plays an extremely important role in international diplomacy.

"Secrets exists for a reason," says Dalton. "Much of this information ... did not belong in the public domain."

Should We Trust Government Safeguards?

Stewart Baker and Michael German disagree about the rules that regulate government use of data collected about citizens and whether they effectively protect privacy rights.

Whistleblower Bias: Is WikiLeaks Losing Its Objectivity?

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange explains why the organization has to provide text summaries of its raw data, as well as edit and annotate its raw video. Without the context, Assange says the site's more esoteric and technical content would simply "fall into the gutter."

Assange Mocks Pentagon Demand to 'Return' WikiLeaks Docs

The Pentagon publicly demanded WikiLeaks "return" the Afghan War Diary, a collection of U.S. military logs the website published online, and any other classified material it has slated for release. But how could the organization effectively return digital documents? Editor-in-chief Julian Assange jokes, "Should we just email 400,000 records back to the Pentagon?"

About this series

Are whistleblowers traitors or heroes? We've counted on them to uncover corruption and human rights abuses and to hold world powers accountable for their actions. But these leaks can also cause confusion or anger, aid our enemies, and endanger national security. goes undercover with a series on the informants making headlines: Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and WikiLeaks rip open Iraq War files. Daniel Ellsberg exposes "systematic" lies in the Pentagon Papers. Edward Snowden watches the watchers and picks a fight with the NSA's mass surveillance.

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