The whistleblower’s guide: Look before you leak

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is seen in this file still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is seen in this file still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6

Edward Snowden seemed pretty smart before his leak of NSA files landed him in a real-life version of Tom Hanks film ‘The Terminal’. With this handy guide you won’t need Julian Assange.

1. Arrange asylum first and leak from host country

It seems obvious, but the stress of canceled passports and airport prisons can be avoided if you do your homework and make a deal with a new country and emigrate there before dropping bombshells. “It’s a good idea to see which countries are sympathetic, every state has a right to refuse extradition for political offences”, says Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, International Refugee Law specialist at the University of Oxford. Nations with strong opposition to your home country are more likely to support you.

2. Untraceable communications

The best type of leak is face-to-face, a la ‘Deep Throat’ over the Watergate scandal, or mail the information by post. Failing that, use a new laptop bought with cash to avoid synchronization and location-identifying cookies. Use prepaid phone with the battery removed while travelling to avoid the fate of John McAfee, given away by an iPhone while escaping to Guatemala.

3. Have lawyers on the case

Snowden’s mistakes reveal a serious lack of professional advice, which would have stopped him leaking from Hong Kong – a nation with no framework for handling refugees. A lawyer would also have contradicted the Wikileaks advice to break for Latin America via Moscow, and could secure a better deal if Snowden was forced back to the US.

4. Start your own fan club

Popular movements change perceptions and put pressure on the authorities – support for Bradley Manning has strengthened his defense and prosecutors have voluntarily ruled out the death penalty. “Establish a website so that your supporters can follow your case, get your side of the story, and most importantly, make donations to support your defense”, says CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, and enlist support “from civil rights groups who can explain to the public why what you did is so important”. In our view, Snowden would also benefit from another photo, as the only one in circulation has become boring.

5. ‘Always check your six’

Or ‘look behind you’ – the advice from another NSA leaker Thomas Drake, a reminder that even if you escape there will be people after you. Better your chances by learning to detect spies posing as friends or locals, keep heavy security, and you may avoid the fate of Leon Trotsky, assassinated by undercover Soviet agents in Mexico.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.