The Intercept's new blog gets its stories from unofficial sources
April 17, 2015 6:33 PM   Subscribe

 
We’ll look for mid-level bureaucrats trying to tell the truth, and put out a welcome mat for unhappy system administrators and bank whistleblowers. We’ll read mind-numbing government procurement contracts and grudgingly-released financial disclosure forms. We’ll listen to two-hour corporate earnings calls.

Maybe some people will wonder how this differs from actual journalism. It doesn't. Printing the unexamined assertions of official sources is advertising.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:01 PM on April 17, 2015 [28 favorites]


At the end of the article, it has links to provide info overtly or covertly. I was curious about the covert link.

It's pretty amazing and makes me interested to see what comes out of this. It really lays all the technical aspects that a non-tech savvy whistle-blower would need to know.
posted by sio42 at 7:02 PM on April 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Interesting. Here are the stories they have so far.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:05 PM on April 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


We’ll read mind-numbing government procurement contracts

Awesome! I really look forward to reports on malfeasance and waste in the single largest segment of federal government spending, because I'm sure in such an important mission, they'll focus on the big-ticket items first, right?

Yep, gonna be a rough day for those evil bureaucrats down at the Social Security buil ... wait, what's that? Whaddya mean that's not sexy enough for the blog?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:18 PM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Have you seen the blog? "Sexy" is not the first word that springs to mind.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:24 PM on April 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought the Wall Street Journal had been trying to expose all the dirt at Social Security for years; it would certainly gain them favor with all their advertisers who want to take over as the guardians of the Peoples' Retirement.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:29 PM on April 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is fantastic. Something really awesome on the internet.

Minor adverse side effect: causes blood to boil.
posted by brina at 9:00 PM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


This one is a whole lot of Not News:
Speaking to a friendly gathering of the Mortgage Bankers Association on Tuesday, freshman Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., mocked his colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., suggesting that she wants to eliminate all risk from the economy.
Just spouting the usual party line to a friendly crowd. What would be NEWS is if they catch a Republican Congresscritter speaking honestly to a Banking Industry Group about his party's plan to eliminate all risk from the Banking Industry.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:18 PM on April 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Good luck to them. It's certainly a noble mission statement.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:42 PM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems to describe what The Intercept had already been doing an awesome job of.
posted by fivebells at 9:58 PM on April 17, 2015


Good luck to them. It's certainly a noble mission statement.

If the entirety of the organization is legit and actually ends up with very sensitive information, I can't see it taking all that long to be compromised, either by the intelligence community inserting one of their own inside, or find one of the existing employees finds themselves offered a deal they cannot refuse, and will end up working to get one of their own inside anyways.

I'm not trying to be tin-foil hat guy here. I don't believe they will just shut it down and round them up or something like that. From a government intelligence standpoint, it's in their interests to be able to act quickly if something really important comes to them. It is wiser to let it run and see what leaks come forward and use that to determine who is leaking the data and prevent that from happening further, how the systems and procedures that the site will use to keep the "leakers" anonymous can be countered and compromised, as well as have the site be a valuable place to distribute various forms of believable but misleading disinformation if the need arises. It's good to keep in mind that it can be as much of a tool for the intelligence community as it is for the general public.

IANAL, but from a certain point of view, if the site were to release something really important, it could reach a point where the DOJ decides to act, and be presented as aiding and abetting the violation of a good number of federal laws (conspiracy, espionage and theft of government property, for example). At that point, of course, it would be up to a court to decide whether or not the release of the information was justified, as it was in the case of the Pentagon Papers.

I guess I'm pretty pragmatic about the whole thing, and I would suggest at least a modicum of skepticism when anonymously submitted information about government operations is involved. It would not be easy to determine before going ahead with a story if the information is 100% true from a legitimate source, or is manufactured in a way that is only 50%-75% true, and the responsible party can use that manufactured remainder as a tool to discredit the 'real' parts, and therefore discredit the whole story. It's a risky business for all sides.
posted by chambers at 11:56 PM on April 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yep, gonna be a rough day for those evil bureaucrats down at the Social Security buil ... wait, what's that? Whaddya mean that's not sexy enough for the blog?

Hail and well met. I, too, think it's pretty dumb that this blog will probably focus on corporate cronyism, warrantless surveillance, and state-approved murder instead of old people and poor people not getting enough money to live because of bureaucratic corruption - we're on the same page there, right?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:37 AM on April 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Have you seen the blog? "Sexy" is not the first word that springs to mind.

This blog seems to focus only on those stories that spark lurid, prurient interest and two-minute hate.

"Find out how the NSA improperly spent $100 million."
... is more sexy than ...
"Find out how the Department of Agriculture improperly spent $100 billion."

Only one of those creates click-throughs. The other bores you to tears while your wallet is sucked dry.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:01 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want to know both. And, also, what to do about it. Yes, I'm a dreamer.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:05 PM on April 18, 2015


Only one of those creates click-throughs. The other bores you to tears while your wallet is sucked dry.

That's a mighty glib interpretation of content and intent, especially given their mission statement. But sure, let's keep the perfect and the good as enemies and dismiss it all!
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:14 PM on April 18, 2015


Only one of those creates click-throughs. The other bores you to tears while your wallet is sucked dry.

I feel you have inexplicably read that mission statement as 'we are Buzzfeed 2.0'.
posted by jaduncan at 1:12 AM on April 19, 2015


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