National Security Agency contractor turned whistle-blower Edward Snowden chided WikiLeaks on Thursday for its indiscriminate approach to leaking information, barely a week after the antisecrecy organization published 20,000 emails that were obtained in a hacking from the Democratic National Committee.
The organization possesses a “hostility to even modest curation,” Snowden wrote on Twitter.
WikiLeaks has attracted harsh criticism for failing to curate the information it leaks based on what is legitimately in the public’s interest. The organization has also made it a policy not to redact sensitive personal information that may be contained in the documents it exposes.
Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @Wikileaks has helped. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) July 28, 2016
WikiLeaks posted a sharp rebuttal, insinuating that Snowden was trying to curry favor with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Opportunism won’t earn you a pardon from Clinton & curation is not censorship of ruling party cash flows https://t.co/4FeygfPynk
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 28, 2016
The public clash is of particular interest, given Snowden’s previous collaboration with the organization. WikiLeaks came to Snowden’s aid in 2013, when he first leaked information about the NSA’s surveillance programs and sought a country in which he could request asylum.
WikiLeaks submitted multiple asylum requests on Snowden’s behalf, including to Ecuador, which granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asylum at its embassy in London. A WikiLeaks researcher eventually accompanied Snowden when he fled from Hong Kong to Moscow, where he now lives in exile.
Glenn Greenwald, a journalist whom Snowden gave some of the leaked NSA documents in 2013, has also criticized WikiLeaks for failing to withhold information that might invade people’s privacy and is not a matter of public interest.
- The Guardian
“Most of the information that we have withheld I’ve withheld on the grounds that it would invade people’s privacy, like emails that the NSA has collected between people, documents where they accuse people of engaging in certain bad acts without any proof,” Greenwald told Slate on Thursday, referring to the process by which he had chosen to release the NSA documents Snowden gave him.
“We’ve done a lot of withholding information in order to protect people’s privacy or reputational interests or otherlegitimate interests,” Greenwald added. “We tried to balance these two competing values. WikiLeaks has said, criticizing us, that they no longer believe in any form of redaction. I do not ascribe to that view.”
The latest WikiLeaks release of hacked DNC documents has prompted concerns that Russia is intervening in a US presidential election – there is evidence that the DNC hack originated inside Russia and that the documents were given to WikiLeaks because of the organization’s ties to the Russian government.
The Kremlin has denied accusations that it was involved.
Snowden has previously weighed in on the incident, declaring earlier this week that the NSA is capable of tracing the stolen DNC emails back to Russia, if the country is indeed responsible.
Natasha Bertrand contributed reporting.