I did have a brother eventually but the age
gap was big and we never had the same closeness as, for example, identical
twins. I think that contributed to a greater need for me to have friends online
within the secretive colony of hackers. Mendax was a cool name, even for
those who didn't know what it meant. I met some pretty smarts dudes during the
early years, before the acronyms had been invented, when typing was still
respected as a skill that should be done with style. I still haven't warmed up
to this lack of grammar in today's new online language.
I don't want to get involved in finger
pointing or name-dropping so I will keep it general. But this is not to say I
will sacrifice any truth. What I can do is only tell you how it was. It is up
to you to accept this record as a primary source unredacted and untampered with
any external force. The hand of propaganda has not sullied these words. Let
there be no Council of Nicaea convened when discussing my story. I will not be
the product of a virgin birth or try to sell you on the trinity. What I am is a
visionary. What I'm not is a politician. I am a philosopher who got the idea
right but who lacked the patience and foresight not to redact the Afghan war
logs. I have to say that now it can be argued that my rash publication of these
files resulted in the harm of numerous operatives. And for that I am at fault.
After the murders in Kenya I was mad, and
it never really left me. That anger carried with me during my decisions to
published unredacted documents that has led directly to my peril today. I
didn't think we were getting through enough. I was still confident with my
submission platform but wanted more leaks, more people to act and put
themselves on the line. In this I might have been too overzealous, but for me
it was a justified zeal that was required to achieve maximum impact. Perhaps
some caution at this point in the battle would have served me better. The books
by Solzheizen and the essays by philosophers I had read spurred me on into the
fire the closer I got to the flame. In a way I became the monkey who triggers
the latch and gets his mini-dose of cocaine. I had come so far and didn't want
to be pushed off my newly acquired soapbox.
It was the idea of redacting that I
refuted. I missed the practical side of it. In practice the effects of
publishing un-redacted documents were detrimental to the countless operatives
who were just and heroic that had gone unnamed until I published them. And this
was done in protest against the coup that was happening at the time by my German
co-worker and his accomplice in Berlin. I realize only now in hindsight that
their steady, grounded heads had entrenched against this reckless and foolish act.
I hadn't yet come to see where I stood on the world platform. I hadn't had time
to see where I was in the midst of the hurricane. Nor could I see I was about
to wreck it all by making an emotional decision rather than a cool, objective
decision, especially with such sensitive data. I had flown too close to the sun.
They saw I was about to scorch my Promethean feathers against the fire burning
in front of us all. I couldn't see it, or perhaps I did see it but I wanted to
get closer to the sun and the life-giving force of the world - one more mile
closer to that great ball of energy that warms the marrow in us all.
Immediately the publication brought me
misery. My freedom of movement was shrouded by shadowy agents following me to
pubs and cafes where I had operated unseen for years. Landing in airports
immediately became a harrowing affair. I was ill-prepared for the sophisticated
techniques of the world's best surveillance teams. I inadvertently employed my
naiveté to inflame the ramifications of the firestorm I had created, and I
could not ignore the primal fear that reached my bones. My legs shook when I
knew I was being watched, my skinny wrists commanding keystrokes at my laptop a
constant reminder of how inadequate I was to take on such a beast of power.
Some powder in my food or a spiked drink could leave me vulnerable to
exploitation, which is close to what transpired only weeks after the
publication of these unredacted files.
I didn't know at the time that they were
the Pentagon Papers of my generation, nor did I see I was about to lose the
goodwill and Robin Hood persona that I had been given up to that point by the
world press. I'd like to blame my German co-worker, and I did for a number of
years, but I know now it was all my fault. The pressure by one co-worker was
what prompted me to publish un-redacted documents but I knew better. I chose to
be loyal to an ideal of untampered publication and refused to accept the
compromise of being a publisher of such sensitive information. I wish my German
co-worker had been more diplomatic and loyal to my ideals. If so maybe this
whole thing could have been avoided.
And this is what keeps me up at night: how
things were at the time in 2010 and how things could have been so different if
I hadn't made some choices that were based on an underestimation of how
threatening my submission platform had become. The power structure in Virginia
knew that with the infrastructure I had created and with the press I had been
given, there was nothing stopping an Edward Snowden from stepping forward to
reveal the American's poker hand at the great Texas Hold'em game unfolding at
the UN Assembly in New York. This was an unacceptable danger for them. At the
time I assured myself that I only provided the lectern from where to display
hidden truths. The whistleblower breaks the law and I don't know who it is. I told
myself I am a journalist who publishes using the available technologies. I am
not responsible for the material. I facilitate. I am a conduit. Nothing more.
Don't blame me. I should be invisible.