It’s safe to say there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in the world today that the average person has no clue about. A great example of this is how the tech world and public reacted to a lot of the information Edward Snowden leaked. If you didn’t believe that government agencies were collecting data unbeknownst to its citizens then you’re more than just a little naive. Please don’t think we’re advocating the act, or trying to imply that it should be allowed to happen. We’re merely saying it should not have been a surprise – to anyone.
There are plenty of other things happening behind the scenes that may come as a bit of a shock. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. At any given time, we have access to leaked documents and information that can shed some light on the world around us. It can be difficult trying to figure out what information is worth consuming, and what’s useless. In light of that, here are fifteen leaked documents that are incredibly valuable. In short, everyone should read and understand the content listed below at some point in their life.
1. Proof the U.S. Government is Collecting Your Data
Since we mentioned it above, it only makes sense to offer proof the government is collecting your data as one of the first leaked documents on this list. The U.S. Government issued a court order to Verizon to get them to hand over phone records for millions of customers. Apparently, it was done to collect vital foreign intelligence – like that excuses the breach of millions of U.S. citizens rights.
This document details how the NSA collects millions of American’s phone records by forcing Verizon to hand over the data through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court order.
2. The New York Times 2014 Innovation Report
This is an internal report from The New York Times’ new ideas task force that is headed by Arthur Gregg Sulzberger. Why is it so important? It shows exactly what a company like The Times has had to do to organize a successful digital strategy. If you don’t at least learn a little something by witnessing firsthand how such a large organization copes with a rapidly changing world, well then you need to read it again.
3. U.S. Diplomats Acting as Spies
As ordered by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in 2009, overseas diplomats were in charge of collecting personal information from foreign officials at the U.N. They collected information such as credit card numbers, frequent flier miles and even biometric data. A New York Times’ report on the act can be accessed above.
4. The Central Intelligence Agency Style Guide
Where you have extensive intelligence, you have lots and lots of reports. It’s no surprise then that the CIA has a strict, internal style guide their analysts must follow when drawing up event reports. You’ll be surprised to know the agency believes in the serial comma, heavily relies on “crisp and pungent” language, and remains “devoid of jargon” in an attempt to be fully descriptive. Of course, there are plenty of other internal style quirks to discover in the guide.
5. The U.S. Intelligence Plan to Destroy WikiLeaks
For quite some time, U.S. agencies planned to take down or destroy WikiLeaks primarily because of all the embarrassing information that was being published. They believed that former agents were potentially siphoning information to be shared on the web. The biggest leaks included the equipment expenditure in Iraq, U.S. violations of the Chemical Warfare Convention Treaty in Iraq, the battle over Fallujah and human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay.
“The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the WikiLeaks.org Web site.”
If you’d like to see how they planned to do it and why, you can check out the U.S. Intelligence’s plan to destroy WikiLeaks above.
6. Saudis Urge U.S. to Bomb Iran
While this shouldn’t come as a shock, several Arab leaders have urged the U.S. to launch an attack on Iran. Their hope is that it will stop Iran’s nuclear program, or at the very least stall it. In one such request, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia said he “told you [the U.S.] to cut off the head of the snake.” You can read the Guardian’s write-up on the requests above.
7. Thousands of 9/11 Pager Messages Leaked
In 2009, WikiLeaks published a report which they believe to include 573,000 intercepted pager messages that were collected during the 9/11 attacks. While no agencies, departments or people mentioned have been able to validate whether the messages are real or not, the content within is highly suggestive they are. Some of the messages are incredibly mundane, while others allude to the president’s whereabouts on the day of. If anything, it’s a very humbling report to consume.
8. Collateral Murder by U.S. Troops: Video Released on April 5th, 2010
In, 2010 WikiLeaks published a video that depicts U.S. troops in an Apache helicopter dubbed “Crazyhorse 18” firing on a group of about eighteen people which included civilians and journalists working for Reuters. The video was recorded by the gun sight camera on the helicopter and shows the entire ordeal, including gunmen who urge a wounded man – crawling along the road – to pick up a weapon. In other words, they were clearly itching to fire upon these people. You can read more on the video and watch it for yourself above.
9. Sealed Complaint Again JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Nelnet for Defrauding U.S. Government
We all know that the banks and lenders had their hand in destroying the economy by allowing people to extend their debts. It seems the same is being done with younger generations in regards to school and student loans. Say what you will about the importance of attending secondary schools, but it’s no secret our youth are entering the workforce with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt weighing on their back with little income to make up for it. This document, filed under seal, presents a complaint from a federal lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Nelnet for submitting false claims to the U.S. government in regards to the student loan industry.
10. Iran Received Missiles from North Korea
American intelligence seems to believe Iran has received 19 missiles from North Korea, which have a range of 2,000 miles. If that is true, it means they are the longest-range missiles in the entire Iranian arsenal – which is certainly dangerous. The New York Times published a story on the information; however, they did not publish the related cable at the request of the Obama administration. As such, it has not been posted by WikiLeaks.
11. Subpoena to Google for Identities of Journalists Operating TCI Journal
A California court issued a subpoena to Google, demanding that the company provide the IP addresses – and in turn identities – of journalists writing for a corruption publication in the Turks and Caicos islands. The journal revealed major corruption all throughout the island and even outlined bribes taken by local politicians. What’s most disturbing about the document is that it’s a blatant attack on those looking to oust corruption and make the afflicted parties responsible for their actions. Indeed, we are in an age where the government absolutely has too much power – leaked documents like this are the proof.
12. Secret Attacks [War] in Yemen
The Obama administration is responsible for launching missile attacks on suspected terrorists in Yemen. The acts were kept a secret because the Yemen government has taken full responsibility and lied about the true source of the attacks. Despite the fact that some of the attacks have been successful in eliminating suspected terrorists, dozens of citizens have also been killed. A January 2010 cable details the meeting between Yemen’s president and General David Petraeus.
13. Report Listing Concealed Weapons Permit Holders by Full Name in Fairfax Country, Virginia
As expressly stated in the constitution we as U.S. citizens have the right to bear arms. According to a presiding judge, the court also has the right to acquire a complete list of those in possession with concealed weapons permits, which mentions the full name of every applicant therein. While it’s acceptable the government collects this information during the application process and records it, it is not acceptable that courts be allowed to criminalize those in possession of said documents especially when it’s our god given right to have them. Even worse, the information was data mined so that the GOP Republican Party could send campaign materials to voters.
14. Email from Special Agent Mike Duffey Concerning Warrantless Searches
WikiLeaks published an email from Special Agent Mike Duffey of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Computer Crime Center in which he discussed the ease of obtaining a suspect’s information on MySpace. In it, he mentions that it only took him about 20 minutes to find the necessary information while he had greater trouble trying to extract the same information from Yahoo and AT&T. It makes you wonder, what others sites out there – like MySpace – are just as easy to gain access to.
15. Fatah Had Warning About Gaza Invasion
Believe it or not, there was enough warning to know it was coming. The Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told an American delegation that the country had straight up asked Egypt and Fatah, “if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas.” This was all before the attack on Gaza in 2008. The information was released in a June 2009 cable from the U.S. embassy.