House staffer edited Wikipedia page to label Snowden a ‘traitor’

Someone working on a House computer updated Wikipedia to call government leaker Edward Snowden an “American traitor who defected to Russia” on Tuesday.

The change, which was picked up by a Twitter account that automatically notes edits from congressional Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, occurred on the Wikipedia page for United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.


Last month, Pillay said that the world owes a “great deal” to Snowden and called him a “human rights defender.” 

Referencing that statement, someone from a House IP address updated her page on the user-generated encyclopedia to note that Pillay received “criticism for reffering [sic] to Edward Snowden, the American traitor who defected to Russia, as a ‘Human Rights Defender’ and saying that he should not face trial for his crimes.”

The changes were deleted by a separate user within moments for having "loaded wording."

The IP address used to edit Pillay’s page was the same one blocked from editing Wikipedia pages for 10 days last month, after a string of “disruptive” edits that may have been made to gain recognition through the Twitter account. 

The move last month came after someone in the House called news site Mediaite “a sexist transphobic” outlet. Previously, people from the same IP address had made changes to the Wikipedia pages for “Moon landing conspiracy theories,” the ice cream Choco Taco and the reptilian race of aliens common in science fiction.

Often the edits have been slight changes to grammar or punctuation, indicating that they could have been made merely to signal the Twitter bot. 

Critics of Snowden, who has sought asylum in Russia for the past year, have said that his disclosures about the National Security Agency will aid terrorists trying to evade detection from U.S. surveillance.