assange wikileaks spying snowden

Get comfortable before you tackle this epic portrait of Julian Assange by his ghost-writer, Andrew O'Hagan.

The author writes more in sadness than in anger because he is clearly inspired by WikiLeaks' mission. But the project to produce an Assange autobiography/manifesto drags on and is eventually abandoned because of Assange's myriad personal weaknesses. You sense that WikiLeaks might go the same way:

When he was working with those fellows from the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel, he allowed himself to forget that they were journalists with decades of experience and their own fund of beliefs. To him they were just conduits and possible disciples: he is still reeling, even today, from the shock that they were their own men and women. My discussions with him would go on, in private, long after the idea of ‘collaboration’ was over. But he consistently forgot that I am foremost a writer and an independent person. Julian is an actor who believes all the lines in the play are there to feed his lines; that none of the other lives is substantial in itself. People have inferred from this kind of thing that he has Asperger’s syndrome and they could be right. He sees every idea as a mere spark from a fire in his own mind. That way madness lies, of course, and the extent of Julian’s lying convinced me that he is probably a little mad, sad and bad, for all the glory of WikiLeaks as a project.

And here's Edward Lucas in The American Interest. Lucas is a senior editor at The Economist and author of The Snowden Operation: Inside the West's Greatest Intelligence Disaster:

For a whistleblower to justify his breach of trust, he has to do three things. He has to expose grave wrongdoing which could not be remedied through normal channels. He has to minimise danger to public safety and security. And he should steal and leak only those materials that are relevant to his cause.

Snowden fails all three parts of this test.

 Photo by Flickr user Carolina Georgatou.