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The Big Discord Picture

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More stuff is still coming out with respect to the Discord Leaks, and I have some general thoughts on the big picture over at 1945:

Of course, this isn’t the first big leak suffered by the US national security state. While leaks of this nature always make for big news, it’s more difficult to sort out their actual policy impact. Daniel Ellsberg’s leaks indicated direct government malfeasance, but arguably the Pentagon Papers leak was more of a consequence of elite discontent with the Vietnam War than a cause of a shift in attitudes towards the conflict.

The most notable enduring story of the Pentagon Papers leak is the failed effort of the Nixon administration to maintain their secrecy, part of a pattern of lawless overreach that eventually resulted in the Watergate break ins and cover-up. 

Long story short, big leaks like this usually happen because there is substantial elite disagreement about policy. This one is a little bit different because the leaker is about the farthest thing from a policy elite that you can imagine (even less so than Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden, who at least had political logics for leaking and receptive audiences for the leaks), but I think it’s still going to be hard to chase down any specific policy changes as a result of the leak.

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