Remember when Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman saved America by going on secret dates with that dude with the porny name and writing about it in the formerly-not-terrible Washington Post? No? That is because you are too young and innocent to recall Watergate, and actually, so are most of the rest of us around here. Anyway, there are some wacky shenanigans going down today that are sort of Watergatey, maybe. Actually, it's a bit more like the leaking of the Pentagon Papers, which you are also probably too young to remember.
Here's the basic plot of today's journalisimistical soap opera: Julian Assange, the dude who runs the website Wikileaks, received 92,000 top-secret documents about the war in Afghanistan. They were allegedly sent by SPC Bradley Manning, who was arrested in June on suspicion of being naughty/awesome, depending on your point of view. And, as usual, it was Lady Gaga's fault!
"I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like 'Lady Gaga,' erase the music then write a compressed split file,” he wrote. “No one suspected a thing and, odds are, they never will."
"[I] listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga’s 'Telephone' while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history," he added later. "Weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis… a perfect storm."
Anyway, so whether it's true or not, Manning probably should not have been chatting online about this, even with a notoriously badass hacker. Turns out sometimes even hackers narc on your ass.
Manning's been up shit creek sans paddle for a month and a half now, but the content of the papers has just hit mainstream media. The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), and Der Spiegel (Germany) all worked out a deal with Assange. Each paper would publish excerpts from the documents in its respective country/jurisdiction. This is sort of like "Spartacus" but also like the burn book sequence in Mean Girls, except it matters. Why? Because the shit they're publishing today is epic.
The message one gets overall from reading some excerpts is this: the Taliban is doing super-great, and American forces in Afghanistan are fucking fucked. The American military mostly didn't lie in providing info to the press, except when it did. The Afghan military and police are hopelessly corrupt and shitty. Everything sucks. But you don't have to take my word for it — go on over to your Paper of Record and check this shit out.
Tags: Afghanistan, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Lady Gaga, Military, Movies, Music, Scandalgate, Watergate, WikiLeaks