WikiLeaks is apparently targeting CIA interns, retweeting an agency advertisement and stating the program might be a “[w]histleblowing opportunity.”
CIA advertises internships. Whistleblowing opportunity? https://t.co/6JPCopFkEi— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 13, 2017
The WikiLeaks tweet hints at a different paradigm for leaking. Rather than taking a job in good faith and leaking information, it implies would-be leakers should apply for jobs with the purpose of leaking.
Aimlessly rooting around the CIA for documents to leak would be unethical, said Bernhard Debatin, a professor at Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.
“The problem here is that there are very few situations [in which] undercover is justified. Sometimes those situations are only recognizable in hindsight,” he said. “Journalism depends on its being trustworthy, and being dishonest goes against that.”
Debatin notes that journalists can usually find other ways to get information, adding that interns, particularly at the CIA, would not handle the most sensitive information.
But according to the position description, the Directorate of Operations internships “perform duties typical of a Collection Management Officer (CMO) or Staff Operations Officer (SOO), teaming with knowledgeable professionals to facilitate the collection and dissemination of foreign intelligence used by US national security, defense, and foreign policy officials and intelligence analysts.” Both the CMO and SOO positions handle covert intelligence.
Interns must pass a polygraph test and background check, the CIA ad reads.