How to blow the whistle

On this morning's Today Show segment on leakers, NBC's media analysts decided that people who anonymously leak evidence of criminal or ethical wrongdoing are attention-seeking narcissists. Don't be outraged! Now potential whistleblowers know not to leak to NBC. But there's more to the craft than simply avoiding hacks. At Wired, Ryan Singel has the essential guide on How to Be a Workplace Leaker Without Getting Caught. #1: "Don’t use your work computer or work phone to communicate with the recipient of your leaks."


  1. “Don’t use your work computer or work phone to communicate with the recipient of your leaks.”

    Uh, duh?

    How about, if you really don’t want to get caught, supply the journalist/periodical/agency/law enforcement with typed or printed paper copies that you made not-at-work of what you’re reporting, while wearing gloves the whole time you handle all of the materials?  Make sure to make exact copies for yourself and to store them off-site like in a safe deposit box, so that if criminal charges get pushed against the organization, you have proof that you’re the one who brought those charges to light, so you might be eligible for immunity or  otherwise avoid prosecution…  You could even note in the letters that you will identify yourself, if necessary, by producing exact duplicates of these papers, so that they’ll actually know to consider someone for immunity…

    Or, you could hire an attorney as a John Doe, and have that attorney contact the appropriate agency.  Sure, it’ll cost you money, but if there’s risk that you’ll get into actual trouble for events and could need an attorney anyway, it’s a good way of ensuring that it’s done right from the start, and that attorney could seek a deal on your behalf before you ever get identified, and if the deal is rejected, never mention who you actually are on account of attorney/client privilege.

  2. people who anonymously leak evidence of criminal or ethical wrongdoing are attention-seeking narcissists

    Anonymous attention seekers? I’m having a hard time conceptualizing how that works. Guess this is why I avoid network “news” and their bevy of brilliant idiots.

  3. Wow, I just assumed that it was a phone or email he sent from work. Fox actually tracks access a particular file? I wonder if servers for reputable media are set up to be that paranoid.

  4. Also, what are the NBC execs hiding, that they are so down on whistle-blowers?

    Could it be some combination of racist cult membership, tax-evasion, heavy cocaine use, auto-erotic asphyxiation and paedophilia? Or whatever; it’s my opinion that those are the sorts of things anti-free-speech hypocrites pretending to be journalists might be into, but not a specific accusation :)

  5. Unless you are an expert on digital photo formats and have personally analyzed the metadata embedded in the files emitted by your phone, don’t give anyone photo files like this article recommends.

    1. An easy way to strip all metadata is to open the image and take a screenshot, but you’ll want to do that on someone else’s computer (maybe at the library).

  6. Yeah, just like Ellsberg is a great liberal hero but Manning is a “narcissist.”  Schmucks.  It’s just the typical liberal fear (see “Frank, Thomas” and “Keen, Andrew”) of anything that smacks of networks bypassing the old managerial gatekeepers.

  7. A show full of attention seeking narcissists/whores who breathlessly chase sensational stories in an effort to boost their ratings calling other people attention seeking narcissists…That’s a bit ironic.  

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