George June 15, 2017 7:35 AM

Hmmm, Comey and his cohorts have definitely gotten younger since last I saw them … I’m not sure that any of the people currently leaking (or pretending to leak since its difficult to know what’s fact and fiction these days) are under 40.

Just Me June 15, 2017 7:36 AM

I’m inclined to agree with the author (and premise) – if at least because this generation has access to tools that leverage typical youthful ignorance.

The inability to see long term consequences is normal in the young of every generation.

As the saying goes – technology is a lever that multiplies your actions. We’ve reached a point where a single tweet can multiply a reckless decision into a career and life altering mistake.

The latest young lady to leak classified data won’t be the last to spend a long, long time in prison.

BF Skinner June 15, 2017 7:37 AM

Indeed. . . sample size is too small. Why didn’t we see millennials leak in the 90s? ‘Cause they didn’t have access. They are now adults and are getting access. Soon ONLY Millennials will be leaking because only they and then their children will have access to material too leak.

caleb T June 15, 2017 7:40 AM

I feel as though, this says a lot more about the corporate environment that young people find themselves in than characteristics of the young people themselves. I think most young people would love to work for a company they could be loyal too, and feel as though that loyalty was reciprocated. I am afraid those companies don’t much exist anymore.

James June 15, 2017 8:24 AM

To me this analysis doesn’t question a larger moral picture and also fails to consider how the internet provides a distributed platform of communication which the previous generations did NOT have. The moral justification is simple – there wouldn’t be many leakers if the government didn’t consistently wipe their rectum with the constitution. The younger generation obviously advocates greater transparency in order to hold those in power to account, and why blame them? Governments operate on our tax dollars.

Dan H. (other one) June 15, 2017 9:07 AM

The author of the linked article has an inkling of the truth, but not quite the whole of it nor does he make the correct inferences.

In the past, the US government and military would achieve the loyalty of its employees by looking after them; the loyalty was a reciprocal thing.

Now, the government is trying (as the article said) to use what amount to mercenaries, but they aren’t quite facing up to the decision they made in doing this. If you decide to pay mercenaries, then you achieve their loyalty through what you pay them and by assisting their personal reputation.

What you do not do is underpay mercenaries and then try to command loyalty by appealing to their sense of honour or their religious sensibilities of what is right and wrong. Doing this with older mercenaries is a waste of time because they are under no illusions as to how the game is played, and the better ones will not work for less than what they are worth. Thus, under this scheme, you lose the older workforce.

This scheme works even worse with the young and inexperienced, because quite often this cohort tend to examine the message of “Be true and honourable”, look at the moral cesspit they are wallowing in and revolt against their employers. This is what is happening with young leakers of information; they are following their honour and that honour that their employer is trying to use as a substitute for dollars, and doing what they think is right.

The cure for this is for the Government (the military faced down this demon ages ago) to realise that they are dropping young, impressionable people into a moral cesspit where everything is a shade of grey, and that these people are mercenaries.

Thus you do not play to honour or to religious sensibilities, but merely point out that they are being paid for their talents, and that provided they play it straight for their employer, they will be paid amply and will also receive a gold-plated if strategically redacted reference.

Guanjo June 15, 2017 10:25 AM


Mainstreaming of political violence is never acceptable.

Plenty of people lost their health plans and access to their doctors under the banner of Obamacare.

I didn’t see who cadres of “respectable” journalists then advocating for political violence.

The double standard is appalling and, frankly, dangerous.

Mike D. June 15, 2017 10:36 AM

Gen Xer here, asking all you “old” folks: Were whistleblowing processes as incredibly ineffectual back in your day as they are now? So many analyses of Snowden’s actions overlook the fact that there were several whistleblowers before him that followed procedures and were railroaded, while no effective changes were made. There has to be a fallback for when the official watchmen are in on the scam.

Malcolm X June 15, 2017 11:01 AM

@ Mike D.

So many analyses of Snowden’s actions overlook the fact that there were several whistleblowers before him that followed procedures and were railroaded, while no effective changes were made.

The heart of the problem is the intel community. It now usurps all branches of government; and, democracy itself.

It is being used to manipulate financial markets, businesses, and populations for “intel insider” gains.

It uses blackmail and extortion when other means are deemed insufficient.

It is the new Mafia. Hence, even government leaders are “selected” from within (or by) the intel community and its patrons to occupy political offices.

And, they don’t like it when an outsider sneaks thru the system — e.g. Trump; Jessie Ventura; etc. Read Jessie’s account of the CIA riding him after he won the Governor’s Mansion in Minnesota.

Last, but not least, because of the inherent ignorance of the general public regarding computers, the intel community can lie with impunity and get away with it — so we hear all the normal BS excuses that we hear from normal users: “It’s the computer’s fault.” “Anonymous did it.”

albert June 15, 2017 11:12 AM


“…My guess is that you could write a similar essay about every named generation, every age group, and so on….”

You are correct. ALL generations react to the status quo, and even those members who ‘accept’ it are still critical of it. The difference is that today, there is -much more- information readily available to the younger folks, and to us old-timers*.

More people now see into the ‘white-washed graves’ than ever before, and what they find is appalling. This is how they become disillusioned, and morally outraged. This results in leakers, whistle-blowers…….and shooters.

Employers that lack morality cannot depend on moral employees loyalty.

*I saw an ad in the paper: “Lead guitar wanted. Must read. No dinosaurs.” The nerve! WE invented hard rock and punk:)

. .. . .. — ….

Bear June 15, 2017 1:11 PM

@Mike D: Yes, the policy of blaming the person who brings up the topic and railroading them was well established long before the Millennials or the GenXers came on the scene. Use the search term “COINTELPRO” if you want to see the same tactics that are being used now in an earlier phase of history.

And in general: Millennials have been raised with absolutely no expectation of privacy. Why would they respect their employers’ desire for privacy? You don’t ask for people to give back something you’ve already taken away from them.

Patrick A McClintock June 15, 2017 1:34 PM

I’m pretty sure this is the case with any generation. Millennials just happen to the current generation in focus. U.S. business interests and the government have been interested in reducing the cost of employment and so regularly rely on contractors for everything thing now, even roles that previously would have been in house only.

Contractors don’t care about the societal culture because they are not a part of it. You cannot really control the culture of contractors either. This is especially important in the intelligence community where the strong sense of culture and purpose is what generally binds the organisation together. But a contractor even a well paid one is not a part of the culture. They are merely mercenaries and are told focus on their job and the contracts needs. They get less time off than those in traditional government roles, less annual compensation, less retirement benefits etc.

So in the end you get a person that is potentially less qualified for a job than you want, costs more on an hourly basis because you are paying the margin to their employer and the employee probably makes less overall. It’s a horrible situation and the more we rely on contractors to handle critical tasks within our government it will continue to get worse.

Clive Robinson June 15, 2017 2:53 PM

@ Albert, Bruce,

It’s not just millennials or even those before them, it goes back to the “Maggie and Ronnie” transalantic double act of the 1980’s. When Money became King and markets were liberated from sensible regulation. With it came the flaunting of nuevo wealth in a very crude loud and perjudicial manner became “the norm”. So much so a UK comedian came up with a “Loads of money” charecter.

It was all mergers and aquisitions with hostile take overs based on crazy leverage financed from vast amounts of hidden debt. Pete Drucker came up with “Empowerment” which was gleafully if incorectly seized as an idea to rip out the entire middle managment and replace them with nascent ICT systems. Sometimes called “Business Process Reengineering” those layed of usually cit the wages bill by better than 50%. Thus share holders got dividends the share price went up but the business became “brittle” as a lot of in house expertise went out the door with the middle managers. Thus the first even quite minor crisis could not be handeled by either directors/senior managers or the workers and the companies crashed as a hickup in the cash flow caused the hidden debt to become a fatal boat anchor around the business neck.

People got the message nobody was irreplaceable and you got what you demanded or you walked. There was the famous story about a senior city trader who did not get the bonus he was entitled to marching into a senior partners office and saying he was obviously not appreciated and he quit. The astonished partner made noises about loyalty, to which the tradrr replied ‘If you want loyalty go by a lap dog’ before marching out to a competitor who had promised twice the annual bonus and a big fat starting fee.

The big four accounting firms and bog consultants pushed various forms of BPR into companies at eye watering consultancy rates. Senior Managment stopped managing and preditory mergers became the norm along with huge Golden Hand shakes with even bigger golden parachutes. The personnel depts got trendy and became “Human resources” and started talking about employees as “units of work resource” with the aim of “outsourcing units of work resource” as a way to get their bonuses. Then the cult of youth came in and if you were over thirty five and not senior managment, senior partner or a director, you were heading for ageist oblivion with a cardboard box of possessions if you went quietly. I know of one US company that decided to outsource a senior director in the UK, they took him to lunch, and whilst out the US head honcho got three security bods to carry his desk into the car park. When the director was seen driving in the honcho dowsed the desk in petrol and set it on fire then have security take his car keys and physically eject him from the grounds. The police ended up getting called and the honcho hadvto in effect flee the country to try and avoid being draged into court. From what I was later told the civil action cost a lot to stop and the honcho got drop kicked by the US parent shortly there after.

The simple fact is most businesses are shareholder driven by pension funds and the like. They tend to be a little fickle in their loyalties thus next quaters share price is just about all walnut corridor cares about. Such short term thinking causes major problems, not least of which is no loyalty from employees.

The thing is such seniors do not appear to realise, that the smart people they realy want to employ are usually the first out the door to become “guns for hire” thus only the dead wood hangs in by it’s fingernails as it believes it can not find other employment. Thus the employee quality spirals donwards and quality demands a much increased price often four or five times the cost they were originally employed for. The realy smart ones also have clauses they insist on that mean they retain the bulk of the rights over their work, which means they can further profit on it without constraint.

To try to get around the high home labour market prices some companies go to various asian companies, where they get further “bilked” by those who are smart enough to take them for all they can. However as the smarter directors have wised up and move on mid project to take credit but not blaim, the losers at the end of the day are actually the shareholders and the revenue services, thus in turn the voters…

vas pup June 15, 2017 3:00 PM

The key is to understand that employee brain power and loyalty are like X-Y orthogonal coordinates, i.e. you may have only 4 possible combinations:
loyal and stupid; disloyal and stupid; loyal and smart; disloyal and smart. Really smart person could be 100% loyal to himself only. Only dog has the same interest as the owner. So, management of loyalty of smart people is the only productive way for employer. How? IC know that acronym: MICE. It addresses four basic mechanisms of manipulation of peoples behavior. For each employee management of loyalty is based on utilization of structure – what is the key driving force: Mice, mIce, miCe, micE. I agree with the article: “And Employee loyalty is a two-way street, and for millennials, traffic has slowed to a crawl. Companies are investing less in workers.”

Pat Fig Face June 15, 2017 6:09 PM

they’ve been mind-controlled in to believing that being the teacher’s pet is the best way to get a head in life. That makes them easier to control as well. soon they’ll breed the rebellion right out of them.

kids these days June 15, 2017 6:43 PM

15 Historical Complaints About Young People Ruining Everything

“Nothing is certain in this life but death, taxes, and the existence in every generation of fuddy-duddies who carp about things not being what they used to be. This centuries-spanning collection of gripes seems to suggest that the golden era of stability and contentment these geezers long to return to may never have existed in the first place. Still, the sheer similarity of their views ought to console them — some things never change.”

JDM June 15, 2017 7:13 PM

How many 20-somethings had access to highly classified info at the NSA and such 40-50 years ago? How many non-government employees had such access?

Gordo June 15, 2017 7:14 PM

@ kids these days,

That reminds me of a quote from Lee Hays of The Weavers fame. If I recall correctly, he put it this way:

“Things sure aren’t what they used to be—but then again, they never were.”

Drone June 16, 2017 2:07 AM

What a rambling mess that piece is. I think this passage at the end of the article sums-up the attitude of the author, Malcolm Harris (a Millennial Himself):

“We hardly invented leaking, but millennials are especially well-suited to the tactic. It’s a squirt gun we can use on our leaders when they’ve stepped out of line. I don’t imagine that employers — public or private — are going to start inspiring loyalty or stop abusing power any time soon, so expect the leaks to keep flowing. At least until millennials find a bigger weapon.”

What a self-important twit Malcolm Harris is!

Either he is working for a horrible employer, and/or he’s been brain-washed to believe all companies in a capitalist system are inherently Evil. If he is working for a bad company, just quit and find a better one to work for Malcolm! Don’t sit there and rant about it. If he believes all companies are inherently bad, then he’s been indoctrinated and there’s not much you or I can do about it.

I see Millenials like Malcolm Harris all the time. They have jobs at really good companies that pay and treat their employees fairly and with respect. Yet these young people are constantly moaning about how badly the company treats everyone. There’s a latent distrust (if-not hatred) of corporations that’s been branded on their psyche. It’s like they’re walking around with a chip on their shoulder that shouts “RESIST!”.

Winter June 16, 2017 2:25 AM

“Really smart person could be 100% loyal to himself only.”

A community of psychopaths is not a community. And a company filled with psychopaths is not a company for long. Although, Goldman-Sachs seems to get a long way in that direction.

Clive Robinson June 16, 2017 3:13 AM

@ Winter,

A community of psychopaths is not a community

Yet the “Red Devil” Humboldt squid is found in packs that can number hundreds if not thousands of individuals. Which is maybe why Goldman-Sachs have been likened to squid…

The real fun one to watch though is a troop of baboons chasing an item of prey. They start in unison and the slower prey looks doomed. Then just as it’s going well one baboon will react like he thinks another one is “stealing a march” on him and leap on it and start viciously fighting. Then another baboon will think the two fighting must have caught something worth fighting over and join in the fight. Fairly soon the entire troop is fighting like crazy and the slower prey animal gets away. Eventually after some time and a lot of fur flying the baboons will stop fighting and just sit there not making eye contact just pretending it had not just happened. If eye contact is made whilst there is still testosterone in the air then the fur flies again, and they can keep this up for a long time.

Sometimes I wonder just how far we have evolved from other primates or not 😉

Dirk Praet June 16, 2017 5:29 AM

@ Winter

Although, Goldman-Sachs seems to get a long way in that direction.


It’s pretty much beyond me why G-S is not on the list of terrorist organisations.

Dan H June 16, 2017 6:38 AM

The article wasn’t research, it was an opinion article written by someone who sympathizes with the traitors.

Winner, Snowden, Manning are no different than Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, John Anthony Walker.

Givon June 16, 2017 7:13 AM

I am not sure the stats are there to prove it is uniquely young people but, anecdotally it does look like young people. Careful, impartial, analysis, has disproven perceptions before. Research is needed to prove this theory.

Also, it’s a fact, younger people commit more crimes and; we have to factor in, that computers let everyone, in every field work at scale.

As for the NSA, we need to consider why specifically this organization has such trouble with defections–since the 1950s–more than other organizations, like the Navy or CIA or FBI for example. At least in the public eye.

Clive Robinson June 16, 2017 9:59 AM

@ Dan H,

Winner, Snowden, Manning are no different than Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, John Anthony Walker.

No they are not and easily demonstrably so to a person who is prepared to consider all the facts.

But this comment like many you have made in the past shows you cherry pick what you want to support your somewhat Preposterous view point.

Which is possibly why people call you out.

Clive Robinson June 16, 2017 10:29 AM

@ Givon,

Also, it’s a fact, younger people commit more crimes

Not quite, it is a fact in many places younger people get more “convictions” for crimes than older people, but that is far from being the same.

For instance, the statistics are based on the number of crimes where convictions have been gained in the UK. And it was well known that to get their solved rate up various police officers would pressure young criminals into admitting a whole load of crimes “to be taken into account” in return for “a good word”. Older criminals being more worldly wise tend not to fall foul of that trick. So a teenager might admit to fifty or more “petty” crimes having really only committed one or two whilst an older criminal might only get convicted of one semi serious crime but might well have committed a large number (ie street muggers who commit between two and thirty muggings a week over a year or so before they get imprisoned).

It’s not so much the police that want to pull the “into consideration” trick but the politicians who are desperate to make crime figures look good during their tenure. Any time you see a socially related job get “performance bonuses” you can be reasonably sure there is a political imperative behind it.

vas pup June 16, 2017 10:48 AM

@Winter • June 16, 2017 2:25 AM.
The best example is movie ‘Wolf of the Wall Street’.
You said:”And a company filled with psychopaths is not a company for long.” There are many examples where psychopaths are CEOs, elected (or otherwise) leaders of the countries for a long time with substantial achievements, but they would not let their subordinates to be or behave like psychopath.
I could only say that people skills and brains in particular are the most valuable capital of any institution (corporation, government, country as a whole, etc.) There is no usage of loyal idiots at all. If you take a look through the history you’ll see that a lot of break through intellectual / engineering products, arts, etc. were created by weird people (e.g. Tesla) or even having substantial mental health problem (‘Beautiful Mind’ – Nash). As recent commercial stated ‘Hello, nobody is perfect.’ And company which cherish brains, get the best interest on that investment. That care is not spoon-feeding, but liberation out of small stuff which could exhaust all productive energy. You know the name of the US company where almost all young professionals would like to work due to exceptional benefits. That is real path to loyalty in a long run (‘carrot’ distributed fairly).

Arclight June 16, 2017 12:32 PM

The problems here are fundamental and only sort-of tied to “The Millenials.”

  1. The scope of our “secret” activities is far larger than it needs to be.
  2. We have too many secrets and too many people keeping them.
  3. In an effort to keep up the production of “product” for our customers, we’ve created the classified equivalent of “Labor Ready” and entrust the clearly replaceable people they get off the street with our dirty laundry.

There is no mutual respect or attractive career path on offer here. Our expectations are unrealistic here.

Further exacerbating this problem, is the fact that post-911, our activities have become more morally and constitutionally challenging while growing in scope. This forces things to become more outsourced and compartmentalized, with very few people really having a good idea of or personal investment in the overall mission.

Archaic GSA rules also mean we’re not really going to get the “best and brightest” on a lifetime career path. They can make a lot more money with less hassle in the private sector, or setting up their own contracting firm.

If keeping the appropriations coming in and some type of product coming out is the goal, then we’re achieving it and the embarrassing leaks are an inevitable consequence. If the goal is to look after American interests while protecting our fundamental way of life, then we’re doing it all wrong.

Nick P June 16, 2017 12:35 PM

@ Dirk Praet

“It’s pretty much beyond me why G-S is not on the list of terrorist organisations. ”

They’re one of the owners of the U.S. government. How else could they outdo lobbyists getting $1+ trillion no questions asked with criminal immunity for what caused it? At that point, there’s no reason to think of the U.S. as a democracy anymore in any sense with one party controlling both sides with a deal like that. Not to mention not worth being an activist in a country where basically nobody did anything about it.

wumpus June 16, 2017 1:54 PM

@Mike D.

Whistleblowing would pretty much out you instantly in the days of yore. Being a gen-x type myself (late ’60s vintage), I can only give examples I learned as history:

Pentagon Papers: Pretty much openly whistleblown, not prosecuted. The Papers basically pointed out that Viet Nam was fought for the careers of officers and government officials who didn’t want it “lost” on their watch (and this had been true since before escalation).

Deep Throat: Typically forgotten as a “whistleblower”, he only contributed information as “background information”. Still absolutely vital in blowing Watergate (and the rest of the Nixon crimes) wide open. Snowden is probably still impressed with his tradecraft and he is only know (Mark Felt) when he decided to take credit right before death.

I would certainly expect such a “generation gap” as far as whistleblowing. Certainly the idea of expecting any kind of loyalty from an institution is generational.

boomers: had a good chance of seeing institutional loyalty. Certainly the last generation to see it.
gen x: grew up while such things might exist, they were probably gone before first serious job or soon after.
millenials (and later): such things never existed growing up. Didn’t have any such expectations when hired.

Clive Robinson June 16, 2017 2:03 PM

@ Arclight,

2. We have too many secrets and too many people keeping them.

As an Asian friend of mine would say,

    Too many rice bowls, too many chop sticks, not enough rice.

The reality is there are actually very few real state secrets most are big wedgies of wallpaper across fat cat arses. They do not want their “tax fraud” techniques brought to light. Think the Thousand dollar paint brush and six hundred dollar hammer.

Such organisations are stuffed with administrative make workers not real workers. As a rough rule if you have more than three layers of managment and more than half the wages go to admin types of which there are more than two for every real workers then you have something very wrong in your organisation.

It was pointed out by a UK economist out of UCL a little while ago in a discussion about robots that we should all already be on a two day week. But for some reason as jobs get replaced or automated those doing those often skilled jobs get replaced with semi skilled or worse administrative types that do increasing volumes of makework paperwork. Thus admin very rarely get made unemployed unless they are problematical. Skilled workers however are fully expendable at any time no mater how much damage axing them will cause…

Dan H June 16, 2017 2:44 PM

@Clive Robertson

They’re all treasonous, regardless of their reason for leaking national security secrets.

Also, the use of commas is encouraged, and it’s Preposterous you don’t use them.

Anura June 16, 2017 2:54 PM

@Clive Robinson

As a rough rule if you have more than three layers of managment and more than half the wages go to admin types of which there are more than two for every real workers then you have something very wrong in your organisation.

Seriously? If you have a layer of management in the first place, then you are not well-organized in the first place.

ab praeceptis June 16, 2017 3:26 PM

Dan H

“Also, the use of commas is encouraged, and it’s Preposterous you don’t use them.” – Sorry, but that’s very poor of you. I take that as an indication that you are utterly empty handed.

Rachel June 16, 2017 3:39 PM

Nick P
Dirk Praet

RE: G-S , thankyou
any idea what happened with the Panama Papers? The story came and went. I seem to recall claims of more terrabytes of data to be examined. maybe due for release in years to hence

Bob June 17, 2017 6:18 PM

Some quick ideas:
– I have noticed the front half of gen-X skipped. It’s because they know that we know, and have already turned our backs, looking for 3+ more options… and common sense and conviction. Sort of like “not worth the brass shell casing.”

  • Journalists simply like the to use the word “millennial.”

  • Millennials are missing a considerable amount of modern history inside their media saturated brains. Politicians have recruited them over older gen-Xers because they feel Millennials are malleable… manipulate-able. They are proved wrong here.

  • the “principled personality” paradox: why would you go through this only to get sacrificed and destroy your future? It is better to just stop interfacing with baby-boomers as much as possible. They have been proven to feed their children to the wolves, to maintain cheap labor policy and their precious 401K.

  • I have noticed Millennials sometimes talk like Gen-X doesn’t already know. We’ve been in the know. Survive, stay underground, prepare for demographic crisis. Limit your social media interface. Control your sex organs.

Bob Silverman June 20, 2017 11:25 AM

On average, young people commit more crimes of all types.
Note that their opportunity costs are less.

Yellow Drawer June 21, 2017 12:02 PM

Could it be that all the leakers are young because younger people have less to lose, are more prone to risky behaviour, and are more likely to act out of idealism over pragmatism? Seems more likely to me than there being something especially leaky about the millennial generation in particular.

Most of the recent suicide attackers in Europe have been in their 20s too. I’d say because young’uns more prone to reckless acts. Malcolm Harris would presumably say it’s “because millennials.”

Bob June 22, 2017 12:58 PM

There is some fuzzy logic on a journalist hand picking millennials out of the crowd of whistleblowers. The story is logically failed, especially considering Julian Assange.

We now live in a high tech society run by megalo-idiots with zero conviction or defense of their own citizens. It brings all kinds of people away from the dinner table up to the front line.

Here is a typical scenario that makes me sick:
High school grads with no option sign up in the military, possibly combat arms. They lie to themselves about shadow government and use reductionism to justify whatever. They come home and start realizing what’s going down. They can no longer justify anything and PTSD can crystallize at this point.

@Yellow Drawer
Politicians bring refugees into their country to score PR points. It doesn’t solve anything and there is almost zero follow-thru on the progress of many of these refugees. The community rejects the refugees because politicians can not force the citizens to accept anything. Then something bad happens.
This has nothing to do with age.

You can not blame the crappy aspects of a culture on the youth, given reactionary nature. From the WWII to the Vietnam generations, they lived a simplistic life where people valued college degrees. They were very easy to manipulate with information warfare. Now we live in an atomic society where no one person has to be valued for anything. My argument is how long can leaders and parents kick a dead dog on the side of the road before they are forced to look at themselves?

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