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PSC 1003; Lecture 16

by: Eleanor Parry

PSC 1003; Lecture 16 PSC 1003

Eleanor Parry
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About this Document

These notes cover the information from lecture 16
Introduction to International Politics
Farrell, H
Class Notes
International Politics; Political Science




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Eleanor Parry on Friday February 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 1003 at George Washington University taught by Farrell, H in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Introduction to International Politics in Political Science at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 02/12/16
Security Challenges of Modern Age • US and other states face a set of unexpected problems • Control of who knows what is an important aspect of statecraft. ◦ Controlling what is known not only by other states, but by domestic public/publics in other countries. • It turns out this is more difficult in the current era. ◦ Wikileaks - Chelsea Manning lead and others ◦ Snowden leakes But Major Misconceptions • Both states and non-state actors have seen this as a threat involving information. ◦ Precept of Internet activists that "information wants to be free" ◦ Handwringing analyses about how internet allows anyone to become a publisher • Evidence suggests that the story is more complicated. ◦ How info becomes social knowledge - publicly accepted common wisdom. ◦ Info which is not knowledge is far less likely to have consequences. Information, Knowledge and Organizations • Key organizations transform info into knowledge. • States and governments - produce knowledge as part of their daily activity. ◦ Ranges from official statistics to school textbooks. • International organizations - produce knowledge as a way to shape politics. ◦ Role of IMF/World Bank in setting out statistics methodologies, arguments about growth. • Newspapers - authoritative national newspapers shape readers worlds and understandings. Implications • Knowledge production is hard to do. ◦ Far more than simply spreading information - getting people to take it seriously. ◦ Some organizations re better able to create legitimate knowledge than others. • Knowledge production in inevitably political. ◦ Plays a key role in shaping political possibilities. ◦ Hence, always subject to negotiations and accommodations with power. ◦ Always a vexed and contested topic. News Media and Government • News media have always played a key political role in turning information into knowledge. ◦ Direct control of what the press published on national security issues has receded in most democracies. ◦ But has been replaced by informal relationships. ◦ Governments want control what they consider to be sensitive information. ◦ Newspapers want to publish it. ◦ The two informally negotiate what gets published and how. News, Leaks, and Politics Previous status quo stabilized by three factors. 1. Controlled, selective leaking by actors within government. A. Sometimes officials leaking for personal reasons, sometimes with implicit or explicit ok from superiors. 2. Long term relationships between reporters/media and government A. Control of access for good stories B. Beat Sweetners 3. Explicit negotiations over sensitive news. A. NYT, Washington Post etc consult with US govt before releasing stories based on non public national security information. Model of Knowledge Production How did this system work for classified info? 1. Source got basic info from inside produce of info 2. Publisher, a traditional media organization, vetted the piece for accuracy, including possible negotiation with produce of information. Then published it, turning info into knowledge. A. Comparatively well resourced organization. B. Legally liable - but also has legal and political protections. 3. Mass audience consumed the knowledge. WikiLeaks as an alternative • Wikileaks set up explicitly to challenge existing system. • Foreswore most of the traditional role of publisher in early days. ◦ No vetting- did not decide itself what to publish and not to publish. Everything published in order received. ◦ No political relationships with existing states or authorities. Sought specifically to challenge status quo. ◦ No relationship with sources - sources were in principle unknown. ◦ No editing - Did not transform material in any way. Wikileaks Model 1. Source got base information from insider outside producer of information. 2. Publisher did no vetting and did not transform information. Made it available to public. A. Under resourced organization. B. Uncertain legal protections. C. But quite hard to pin down and sue. 3. Mass audience consumed the information, potentially fueling social movement and political change. Problems with WikiLeaks • Volunteers never showed up in significant numbers. ◦ Wiki leaks lied about size of organization - never more than a few committed people. • Had enormous difficulty getting people to pay attention to its revelations. ◦ Initial leads got some attention, but nowhere near splash Assange wanted and needed. • No sign of mass movement - or even of major governments being seriously discomfited. WikiLeaks 2.0 • Began to assume heavier editorial role. • Began to work together with traditional media organizations. ◦ Manning information ◦ Afghanistan Data Breakdown of Relations The Snowden Approach • Problems of WikiLeaks apparently led Edward Snowden to choose a different approach • Looked to major newspapers to publish revelations. ◦ Looks for journalists less likely to compromise with USG ◦ Establish relations with two and set up secret forms of communication. ◦ Provided these journalist with material. ◦ Then claim to delete own copy of material to prevent pressure being applied. The Snowden Model 1. Source gets basic information from inside producer of information 2. Chooses publishers who vet and transform information. Hands over control and discretion to them. A. A variety of different publishers in different jurisdictions. B. Makes coordination difficult, but also less likelihood of control or censorship. C. Information turned into knowledge. 3. Wide distribution to varied audience with striking political consequences. Revelations • Offensive cyber being deployed against China. • Apparent compromising of cryptography standards and policy. • Surveillance of European institutions. • Bugging of Angela Merkels personal telephone. • Tapping into communications in Brazil. • Widespread compromising Internet through spoofing. Revealed Surveillance Programs Making Sense of Snowden NSA • Bulk Collection of Meta-Data • Content Collection • Cyber Hacks • Did not break any laws The Three Leakers and what do do about them • Manning went to wikiLeaks • Snowden went straight to newspapers • Federal Government views them all as criminals • Disclosure when its morally justified ◦ No threat to public safety ◦ Based on clear evidence of abuse of public authority ◦ Limited in scope and scale • Manning and Assange were not justified • Snowden is more justified bc they were secret laws and public should have voice • Government is justified to do when they have a warrant--more judicial oversight The End of Easy Hypocrisy • Be earnest • Stay hypocritical


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