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Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald Tackle Ethics of WikiLeaks' Podesta Emails

Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald Tackle Ethics of WikiLeaks' Podesta Emails

Nika Knight, staff writer

A discussion between The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald and author and activist Naomi Klein tackled thorny privacy issues surrounding WikiLeaks' indiscriminate release of John Podesta's hacked emails in a 30-minute

While I have absolutely no way of knowing, I have assumed that WikiLeaks has chosen this route, rather than selectively producing emails, to avoid the very charge that it has been selective and not produced exculpatory or related emails that “tell the full story.” That approach makes some sense when the emails are from a prominent person and relate to a broad, newsworthy subject. It is also not all that dissimilar to the one common in litigation. From the perspective of the lawyer seeking “discovery” of documents from the other party, the requesting party is never satisfied with the producing party deciding which documents about a given subject are “relevant” and which are not.


Yes, if WikiLeaks picks and chooses what to release they will be accused of taking issues out of context and slanting the body of information.

There would be no reason for leaks if “the most transparent administration in history” actually was transparent.


I think Wikileaks/Assange wants us all to keep in mind who and what people in the US are electing.


Does one ALWAYS tell the truth when asked even though doing so would be irreparably destructive to the lives and well-being of all parties? When your partner asks you "How do I look (and they are wearing something that you would not wear), would you reply, “Just awful?” This is not to trivialize the seriousness of “leaking” e-mails both public and private, I am with Ms. Klein about who/why/how the person whose e-mails are going to be “leaked” is determined. Although on any level, I am not subject to “indiscriminate release” of my e-mails, I surely would not like them to be leaked as so many who might observe them might be hurt or offended when such hurt or offense was not intentional. How many of us are without peccability?

The timing of the most recent release of the Podesta hacked (by whom, someone interested in altering the outcome of your national election, perhaps?) e-mails is not coincidental but overtly intentional.

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Assange has insisted that Wikileaks scrutinizes leaks to release only those that they deem releasable.
The picture would’ve been more clear were Assange to have been included.

There are only two choices: radical information transparency (let the chips fall where they may) or radical surveillance ((completely asymmetrical information gathering by the power elite). Take your pick. There is no longer (if there ever really was) a benign juridical authority to oversee the vast information gathering entities. They are not your friends even if they sound like Siri.


Since there are no real journalist in the media anymore. You’re right.

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I prefer to use the term “radical” only in biological and statistical contexts, never in political context.

As George Orwell told the world many years ago: “in an era of universal deceit, anybody telling the truth is labeled a radical”.


I agree with you telso2 and I disagree with Naomi Klein on this issue.
It hurts me to admit that because Ms Klein is almost always correct.
But as long as the National Security Agency is still in business then nobody has any right to expect privacy.
If Hillary and Podesta close the NSA down then Klein would be on the correct side of this argument.


Ray: I agree with you. I resent that the word “Dumped” is used for the WikiLeaks information releases. We need to understand who these people are and these information releases help us understand that. We sure aren’t going to get this information from the major networks.


Admittedly, I have only the description and selected quotes by the parties, as I didn’t listen to the recorded conversation. Off the bat, however, I agree with the validity of the question about the possible subjectivity implicit in leaks, and related questions of ethics.

At the same time, let’s face it: political figures, especially public officials, candidates (and their staffs), having willingly entered into the realm of the making of public policy (i.e. from within a putative democratic government), are quite different from “private” citizens, even including activists who may be trying to organize or influence such policy.

Laws regarding defamation, for instance, set a higher bar for public officials (and famous persons) than for regular citizens.

The WikiLeaks release of Clinton-representative Podesta’s emails serve a broad public purpose, and the public deserves to know the truth about their candidates. If Assange had access to Trump’s emails, I suspect those would also be released; although it would hardly be necessary, as the Donald seems so transparent, and the MSM doing a fabulous job of reporting on every embarrassing facet of his every word & deed. What the MSM has not done very well, however, is report on the obvious differences between what the Hillary campaign is projecting and what the history has been, or what has been said behind the screen…and that’s what the public deserves to know.


The leaking of private information is against the law. What would we think if our postal mail was intercepted and broadcast. The people that access private information of government officials are committing treason. Further the people who publish information they know has been stolen are also traitors. It is time we recognize that private information is just that private information. Stealing it and then publicising it is just that - theft, fraud, and being a traitor. It is funny that we get upset about information on Clinton’s emails and then revel in information obtained illegally by the Russians and then published by the media.

Under what law? Please provide a citation, as this is a novel interpretation. And it’s sad to think that anyone automatically accepts a political campaign’s (and a friendly Administration’s) unverified claim that Russia did the hacking. I certainly can’t say they didn’t, but as no proof is offered, I will not accept it as fact, either, knowing the potentially political motives for the claim.

And it’s also ironic that you find it acceptable for Clinton to hide obviously official communications via use of a private email server & mailbox, in an obviously deliberate attempt to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act; yet condemn someone releasing those communiques in an attempt to restore public visibility.


“Leaking of private information is against the law” - don’t much know if this is true or not, but if it were, let’s not forget that laws are made by people. And that perhaps it is not right to consider “private” information created by the types of Podesta who are managing a public campaign.

As for the article, I am disturbed by the shallow arguments that Klein is making and her obvious framing of the issue in an anti-Assange centric way.


There should be a way to have private communication and penalties for people that steal private communication. What are patent rights and copyright laws about. What would happen if everyone put a copyright statement with each communication. And as for public figures there is no reason why they should not have a right to private communication. Public figures should have a right to discuss issues with the people who are helping them figure out what to do without worrying about what somebody thinks about some conversation taken out of context that may or may not represent the public official final approach.

Come on. Someone is stealing information they have no right to The most obvious culprit is the Russians who appear to have the capability and the will to do it… It certainly not my Mother or my Aunt. Just what are the political motives. The data is obviously being stolen and leaked to affect the election. The people who are using the data should be ashamed of themselves. If it isn’t the Russians so what. Is it better if it is the Chinese?

They’re about the protection of one’s private property, i.e. the economic value of one’s invention / creations and of their investment in creating same. I don’t see this to be analogous to communications, or any real parallel.

I don’t disagree in general that one should expect a reasonable amount of privacy w/r/t purely private conversations; and it’s a fair question that Klein asks.

On the other hand, there is this: the power of concentrated $$, coupled with mass marketing (mass psychology) and the technology to deliver it in massive doses to a susceptible public, exerts unprecedented, overwhelming power over both electoral and policy politics. It allows candidates and their campaigns to easily dupe the electorate. They would have the power to convince the public that a sociopath was the second coming of Jesus.

Against that power, influence and persuasive ability, the electorate has little defense. In my view, anything that helps unmask candidates is a public service; i.e. for the greater good.

In fact, the very contents of many of these emails confirm that what has been said publicly is at odds with what was said / conveyed privately. I’m therefore reminded of the follwing, when I see posts denigrating WikiLeaks, or deflecting the conversation from the contents to the supplier:
“When a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger.” ~ Confucius“


Granted, the Russkies are a convenient target / explanation…I doubt anyone suspects your aunt. But the world is FULL of people (individuals, not nations) who have both the capacity and will to hack into private email servers. You seem unaware of this.
It is quite easy for such folk to bury their tracks-completely; and to leave behind traces or “signatures” to point away from the actual hacker. Much has been written (by experts) elsewhere about this, so I’m not going to attempt a technical explanation here.


In a world where government officials do not respect the privacy of the general public (which pays their salaries), why should the general public respect the privacy of government officials?