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Tipsheet

Why a Former Magazine Reporter Says the Intel Leaker Story Will Get Ugly Fast

To those who haven’t followed Matt Taibbi’s work, I could see how you might view him as pro-Trump, anti-liberal, or whatever labels suit your fancy regarding going after people who call out Democrats on their illiberal nonsense. But Taibbi has also torched Republicans; he’s no fan of Trump, and he’s not a conservative. Taibbi has mocked everyone because they’re all part of the same political class that will screw over the average voter in one way or another. He’s a classical liberal who defends freedom of speech and civil liberties. He might not like your views, but he doesn’t think you should be censored or banned from platforms. His in-depth analysis of the Twitter Files, an unholy alliance between Silicon Valley and the Feds that morphed into a surveillance and political censorship workshop, is why the Left has viewed him with ire. He couldn’t care less.

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Other liberals have been skeptical of things like the Russian Collusion narrative—Taibbi wasn’t alone there. Michael Tracey is another left-leaning journalist who has attacked the Democratic Party for this hoax that has virtually destroyed the credibility of the news industry. That’s how fragile liberalism has become: one disagreement, and you’re ostracized and labeled a Nazi. Taibbi has landed in purgatory, but, again, he doesn't care.

Taibbi’s latest post on Substack centers on the ‘Discord Leaker’ and the files he allegedly disclosed, which detail how US intelligence operations have penetrated Russia’s military network. That information was later transmitted to Ukrainian forces, with other briefs about spying operations against our allies. The suspect is a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman named Jake Teixeira, a Massachusetts resident.   

He will have the book thrown at him and charged with the Espionage Act, which carries decades of jail time. Taibbi highlighted the dichotomy between civilian leaks and those from the political class or within the intelligence network, which you could argue are the same; they both support one another. When people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Teixeira allegedly do it, it’s a full-blown crackdown. And when those in the intel community leak privileged communications, it’s an act of patriotism. The Trump presidency was fraught with intelligence leaks aimed at embarrassing or hamstringing his administration. Where is the Department of Justice investigations into those violations of law (via Substack): 

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You’ll read a lot in the coming days about the dangers of apps like Discord, or of online gaming groups, which counterintelligence officials told the Washington Post today are a “magnet for spies.” The Leaker tale will also surely be framed as reason to pass the RESTRICT Act, the wet dream of creepazoid Virginia Senator Mark Warner, which would give government wide latitude to crack down on “communication technology” creating “undue or unacceptable risk” to national security. 

The intelligence community has itself been massively interfering in domestic news using illegal leaks for years. Remember the “Why Did Obama Dawdle on Russia’s Hacking?” story by David Ignatius of the Washington Post in January of 2017, outing would-be Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn as having been captured in intercepts speaking with a Russian ambassador? That was just the first in a string of leak- or intercept-based news stories that dominated news cycles in the Trump years, involving everything from conclusions of the FISA court to supposedly secret meetings in the Seychelles. 

When civilians or whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange (in jail for an incredible four years now), Reality Winner and now the “Discord Leaker” bring leaked information to the public, the immediate threat is Espionage Act charges and decades of jail time. When a CIA head or a top FBI official does it, it’s just news. In fact, officials talk openly about using “strategic leaks” as a P.R. staple. In a world where media currency is becoming the ultimate power, these people want a monopoly. It’s infuriating. 

Watch how this thing will be spun. It’s going to get ugly fast. 

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Taibbi quickly noted how other outlets described Teixeira, from “gun enthusiast,” courtesy of The Washington Post, to a racist meme factory, which The New York Times highlighted. 

Taibbi shrugged that off, saying, “Well, clearly we can’t have dark humor or innocuous memes! Gitmo cages for all!” 

Let’s wait and see whether there is a trainwreck or not. As Spencer wrote earlier today, Reuters ran with a piece of fake news about the Pentagon leak, claiming that Russia was behind it. We’re at a point where the media can and often ends up being wrong, especially on these matters.

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