Is WikiLeaks Reliable? 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

In a simple, one word answer, no.

Can you trust the illegal hacking of constitutionally protected information and privacy?

Can you trust someone who is obviously on a personal power trip, and selectively exposes private documents based on his own perspective, and to affect issues from his side of them?

The standard of journalistic verification, especially among journalists in the US and Western Europe, is pretty high, and involves something that, for reporters is as sacred as confidentiality in the confessional is to Catholics.  The verification of the accuracy of a source, and the protection of the source’s right to privacy are the two pillars on which this principle rests.  You can’t have one without the other.

Both of those principles are violated by wikileaks.  There’s no source confirmation.  So there’s no way to check on the accuracy of a document in a dump, whether its authentic or whether its a calculated fake.  It just gets dumped into the public domain, regardless, where its veracity becomes a matter of personal speculation and bias, but not confirmation of truth.  And on the other side, digging into private communication might be a fun challenge for someone with those kinds of skills (which are more useful in criminal activity than in something legitimate as far as I am concerned) though I don’t believe hacking is moral, or is an indication of any kind of positive character trait.

As far as its effect on this particular election campaign for President goes, I’d say that it helps Hillary Clinton, mainly with the type of people that are attracted to her candidacy, by providing proof that the “other side” is willing to stoop as low as they can go, a pattern that affirms her contention that she has been unfairly attacked for most of her public life.  US intelligence sources have also confirmed that the hacking was done by Russia, and has been traced to some known Russian hacker identification that has appeared before.  Those who accept, and attempt to use the information to discredit her are not likely to be people who would have ever supported her anyway, and this is the sort of thing that appeals to the conspiracy theorists that abound on the Trump side of the campaign, going back even further than the birther nonsense.

The whole thing is a distraction and annoyance to those of us who like to see a campaign be conducted on the issues, and not on conspiracy theories.  But it should be a major concern to all voters, because the interference of a foreign power in our national affairs, particularly a presidential election, and particularly by Russia, because making it a divisive political issue is giving it the kind of credence, and power, that they intend for it to have.  That’s much more critical, and dangerous, to our country and our future than the alleged content of a speech one of the candidates made to Goldman Sachs half a decade ago.

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

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