How Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West’s secrets

The New York Times reports: Has WikiLeaks become a laundering machine for compromising material gathered by Russian spies? And more broadly, what precisely is the relationship between Mr. Assange and Mr. Putin’s Kremlin?

Those questions are made all the more pointed by Russia’s prominent place in the American presidential election campaign. Mr. Putin, who clashed repeatedly with Mrs. Clinton when she was secretary of state, has publicly praised Mr. Trump, who has returned the compliment, calling for closer ties to Russia and speaking favorably of Mr. Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

From the outset of WikiLeaks, Mr. Assange said he was motivated by a desire to use “cryptography to protect human rights,” and would focus on authoritarian governments like Russia’s.

But a New York Times examination of WikiLeaks’ activities during Mr. Assange’s years in exile found a different pattern: Whether by conviction, convenience or coincidence, WikiLeaks’ document releases, along with many of Mr. Assange’s statements, have often benefited Russia, at the expense of the West.

Among United States officials, the emerging consensus is that Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services. But they say that, at least in the case of the Democrats’ emails, Moscow knew it had a sympathetic outlet in WikiLeaks, where intermediaries could drop pilfered documents in the group’s anonymized digital inbox. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “How Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West’s secrets

  1. hquain

    The shocker for me is the relatively nonchalant attitude toward cyber incursions that undergirds these discussion. What threat is greater at present, or more widespread across all levels of political and economic structure? Or more obvious? Why is there no call for a comprehensive plan to deal with it, catch the perps, protect home, business, and country?

  2. Paul Woodward

    I think this nonchalance derives from the fact that most people experience cyberthreats as a kind of background noise — like the legal warnings on a gas pump about the carcinogenic effects of exposure to petroleum products.

    When the public messaging is that something is not good and there are limited cautionary steps one can take — basically, that this is an issue that seems as uncontrollable as the weather — then there is a climate of complacency.

    On top of that is pure ignorance: the fact, for instance, that not many internet users are aware that 25% of internet traffic is malicious bots designed to bypass security solutions.

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