“Intelligence Porn”…Woah.

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In today’s briefing, James Comey used wordplay that caught the attention of the Ticonderoga Post – “intelligence pornography”. Wow… thats a very powerful statement. Let’s break down the words and apply it to what he was trying to say from his FBI positional circumstance…

intelligence – the collection of information of military or political value.

pornography – printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.

What exactly was Comey talking about? WikiLeaks of course. Over the course of last year’s campaign, WikiLeaks has been a hot topic for informational leaks to destroy the credibility of the Clinton campaign. At certain points, Donald Trump has exclaimed: “Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks!” last November, of course when it benefited him. This made me ponder deeply about the integrity of information and how it is made available to the public. In recent times, it seems that the press and their message seems to degrade and erode as the Trump administration touts “fake news” from the roof tops of the White House. Journalistic ethics and morals may still exist, but more and more news outlets are moving away from the traditional bipartisan reporting and moving towards the fringes of “spectrum end” bias.

What does this have to do with “intelligence pornography”? Well, I would say WikiLeaks can be more  detrimental for society than a necessity. News outlets may be sinking into fringe elements, but most do the necessary work to establish credible witnesses, truthful fact finding, and try to stay close to their networks’s partisan ideals as much as possible while keeping the integrity of the source and story intact.

Let’s face it, news and media outlets suffer from vertical integration, causing narrow views in many outlets from an old world point of view. As dangerous as a limited point of view can be to society, WikiLeaks provides a pushing out of information to the public that could make private information available, destroy entities, and even kill people indirectly with the information provided. WikiLeaks does not obey the journalism ethics and standards. They simply dump information into the public with no filter- and people take this information in different ways. Not all of us look at this information in physically damning ways but there is a scale: slacktivism in regurgitating this information back onto social media as a lesser reiteration– to people using this information for dangerous gains such as an enemy using our tactical leaks in war against us killing people in the battlefield.

But yet, the public advocates for intelligence leaks like new porn videos on PornHub…because of government mistrust. But we have to weigh the pros and cons of this dangerous thought- we must assume the government as an entity is acting for the betterment of the American public, and certain information must be held classified to protect us. WikiLeaks does more harm than good- and we should not be advocating for Assange. Instead, we should be challenging our 4th unofficial system for checks and balances – the press.

More transparency is needed from the government and more challenges need to be made to the office to keep it that way. WikiLeaks thrives on these points: mistrust of government form loss of transparency & news and media outlet vertical integration for narrow views- both points raise the American public’s frustration which causes an “opt out” attitude. This “opt out” in effect perpetuates the behavior of government office and news outlets in the aforementioned.

We shouldn’t rely on a means of “intelligence porn” for sources of news or point of views. That’s lazy. Challenge the government when you feel they are not benefitting you, challenge the press when information doesn’t seem all that credible, and more importantly, challenge yourselves to stay informed by reading multiple point of views of a subject and create your own deductions.

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