Leakers Feel Good About Leaking

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek is one of my faves and tonight, on Rachel Maddow, he told guest host Allison Stewart that leakers feel all fuzzy inside after reading their revealed secrets in publications (or hearing them on TV, I presume). I suppose always I thought of leakers as fearful they would be illuminated as the smelly Swiss cheese and tread lightly. It does make sense, however, that the “diva” and “rogue” Palin leakers felt some ejaculatory pleasure as their unassociated slams consumed the shallows of mainstream media.

Leakers are always all the rage – from Watergate’s Deepthroat in the 1970’s to today’s Obama transition team permeables. Leakers, however, are not homogeneous. Some are lying bastard lowlifes while others are courageous whistleblower demigods.

The public’s right to know and our cherished democratic transparency are protected by leaks – understandably, dictatorships have quite a different relationship with them. The Bush administration has run a notoriously vacuum-sealed presidency and look where that has gotten us: rendition, torture, massive tax breaks for banks, the Iraq War, warrent-less wiretapping, attacks on women’s reproductive rights, etc., etc. No leaks = no good. Silence is deadly. You get the picture.

The majority of leaks, however, are undoubtedly generated by ulterior motives, weakening their credibility at the start. Others are potentially mortally truthful. Unfortunately, the worst leak in recent history had our executive administration outing a CIA agent and endangering international intelligence networks carefully crafted by America’s best and brightest.

But other leaks are just palin – I mean plain fun:

With the tidal wave of anonymous comments from insiders knowledgeable about the goings-on inside the Palin half of the McCain campaign, I figured the truth was somewhere in between the VP candidate talking to Salter & Schmidt in naught but a towel/didn’t know Africa was a continent and the McCain camp (ahem, Nicole Wallace) mishandling her, dooming her performance from the word “you betcha.” Either way, I’m glad I won’t have to give her anymore serious thought and bulging forehead veins for a while.

The final verdict on leaks: you just never know. Grain of sand and all that. Even if they’re lies, I appreciate being on the receiving end of the majority of them – especially when they’re of the sort that makes Dick Cheney’s pacemaker work a little bit harder.


7 Responses to “Leakers Feel Good About Leaking”

  1. November 19, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    A “leak” and a “DISCLOSURE” should not be confused.

    A “leak” is vindictive information disseminated in order to hurt or ruin someone’s reputation.

    EXAMPLES: CIA Officer Valerie Plame outing, Clinton/Lewinsky, George W. Bush’s DUI/DWI arrest, McCain cheating on his first wife, nude photo of “High School Musical” star, Vanessa Hudgens, Mel Gibson anti-semitism rants while in custody.

    A DISCLOSURE protects national security, reports violation of laws, rules, or regulations; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety.

    EXAMPLES: Watergate, Abu Ghraib abuses, World Com, Eron, security lapses that led to 9/11 Attacks, mismanagement within the U.S. Air Marshal program, Major League Baseball steroid tolerance, Dick Cheney torture memos, George W. Bush domestic warrantless wiretapping programs

    I hope this clears things up.


  2. 2 Providence Candlelight
    November 20, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Blower, This is tongue-in-cheek – right?

    Otherwise, your post is incorrect.


  3. November 20, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    No “tongue-in-cheek.” I stand firm. What is your rationale to the contrary?

  4. November 21, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    WB – you make excellent points and i’m glad you provide the POGO website. however, this seems to be a semantics game. not all leaks are bad – certainly obama’s transition team leaks are not “disclosures,” yet they are not motivated by vindictiveness (but perhaps ambition). there is certainly a middle ground and large gray area. “leak” refers to the activity of anonymously proffering information, whether it’s bad or good (and certainly that judgment is subjective). one man’s disclosure is another’s leak. i was addressing the anonymous activity as a whole. i’m going to go look all over this POGO site now. looks very promising.

  5. 5 Providence
    November 21, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Dear Blower,
    Your post seems to be an example of someone attempting to define words without regard for the sanctity of existing definitions. Blower, your attempt to redefine “leak” and “disclosure” is sloppy at best and intellectually fraudulent at worst (please bear with me).

    (Another good example of a word whose definition is often hijacked is the word “liberal”.)

    Blower, when you misuse words, you add to the general communication confusion in the same way that Limbaugh does.

    Blower, This will be really easy for you. Just read the definitions below – voila!

    2 a: to become known despite efforts at concealment b: to be the source of an information leak.

    Blower, can you envision a situation in which information becomes known despite efforts to keep the information concealed? That would be a leak.

    Disclosures are most often made as part of being compliant (efforts at concealment notwithstanding). Not so leaks (though some leaks are made in an attempt at compliance).

    Both disclosures and leaks, depending upon the reason for the disclosure or leak, can be moral, immoral, ethical, unethical, completely value neutral, etc. Neither word need carry value (emotional or otherwise) though they often do.

    Blower, nice words you broached – leak and disclose.
    Nice catting with you.


    PS. I rather enjoyed your post reading it tongue in cheek.

  6. November 22, 2008 at 2:32 pm


    Spare me the Limbaugh analogy – he is a nothing but a spokes-hole for the neoconservative machine that has never walked a police beat or donned his country’s uniform – just like Sean Hannnity.

    Perhaps you should spend some time on a Afghanistan battlefield, work in a national security position, and serve felony warrants on slum-housing without knowing who is behind the door you need to break down. Until then, you have no clue the difference of a “whistleblower disclosure” or a “Karl Rove tabloid leak.”

    Good chatting with you also.

    Some reference:


  7. 7 PC
    November 24, 2008 at 12:50 pm


    I am only asking for honesty in communications. One place for all of us to start is adherence to standard definitions.

    Thank you,

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