July 8, 2018

CONSCIENCE, THEY WONDERED:

A journalist's conscience leads her to reveal her source to the FBI. Here's why. (Margaret Sullivan, July 8, 2018, Washington Post)

It's pretty much an inviolable rule of journalism: Protect your sources.

Reporters have gone to jail to keep that covenant.

But Marcy Wheeler, who writes a well-regarded national security blog, not only revealed a source -- she did so to the FBI, eventually becoming a witness in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation of President Trump's possible connections to Russia. [...]

"For her to go to the FBI, that made my jaw drop," said Daniel Drezner, a Tufts University professor of international politics. (He doesn't know her personally but has followed her work.)

"It's like Glenn Greenwald calling up the CIA and saying I've discovered a mole," Drezner said. [...]

Her blog post centers on a text message she says she got from the source on Nov. 9, 2016 -- about 14 hours after the polls closed -- predicting that Michael Flynn, who would be Trump's appointee for national security adviser, would be meeting with "Team Al-Assad" within 48 hours. Russia has been perhaps the Assad regime's staunchest ally.

As she noted: "The substance of the text -- that the Trump team started focusing on Syria right after the election -- has been corroborated and tied to their discussions with Russia at least twice since then."

Wheeler won't say when she went to the FBI other than that it was in 2017. In December 2017, Flynn flipped, pleading guilty to one count of lying to the FBI about his contact with the Russian government during the presidential transition; Trump had fired him in February.

In addition to the knowledge of her source's inside information, Wheeler said, she had reason to believe that the source was involved with efforts to compromise her website and other communications. And perhaps most important, that he was involved in cyberattacks -- past and future -- that had done and could do real harm to innocent people.

Posted by at July 8, 2018 6:13 PM

  

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