WikiLeaks tweets about “whistleblowing opportunity”


Monday, WikiLeaks retweeted an advertisement looking for CIA interns with an added implication that the program could be a “whistleblowing opportunity.”

The WikiLeaks tweet has many wondering if the agency isn’t hinting at whistleblowers applying for the job for the purpose of leaking information.

According to The Hill, if what WikiLeaks is insinuating in this tweet is true, it could potentially violate the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, which states that conducting ethical journalism is avoiding “undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.”

Infiltrating the CIA for intelligence or documents for WikiLeaks to expose on its site would be considered “unethical,” states Bernhard Debatin, a professor at Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

Debatin explains how “justifying” an undercover operation in journalism can introduce a whole new set of issues involving integrity. “The problem here is that there are very few situations [in which] undercover is justified. Sometimes those situations are only recognizable in hindsight,” he said. “Journalism depends on its being trustworthy, and being dishonest goes against that.”

Furthermore, he argues that they are better ways for WikiLeaks to find the information they are seeking instead of calling on CIA interns who rarely have access to sensitive information.

According to the Undergraduate Internship job description posted on the CIA’s website, it turns out that interns could likely have exposure to covert intelligence by working under the Collection Management Officer (CMO) and Staff Operations Officer (SOO):

“Interns in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations (DO) support the DO’s mission of collecting human intelligence on critical international developments. The DO is the covert arm of the CIA.

Working in the Washington, DC area, DO student interns perform duties typical of a Collection Management Officer or Staff Operations Officer, teaming with knowledgeable professionals to facilitate the collection and dissemination of foreign intelligence used by US national security, defense, and foreign policy officials and intelligence analysts.”

It should also be noted that the internship requires a mandatory polygraph test and background check, says the website.

H/T: The Hill

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