When Australian computer programmer, publisher, and journalist Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006, he wrote a piece titled “Conspiracy as Governance” in which he outlined his plan to target and destroy what he calls a true conspiracy: the political party.
“Consider what would happen if one of these parties gave up their mobile phones, fax and email correspondence—let alone the computer systems which manage their [subscribers], donors, budgets, polling, call centres and direct mail campaigns,” Assange wrote in 2006. “They would immediately fall into an organisational stupor and lose to the other.”
By fomenting the fear that communication tools are easy prey to hackers, he contended, politicians and their proxies would, over time, fear their correspondence could be leaked, “[inducing] fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie.”
At this stage, Assange explained, these same power players would have to face a “secrecy tax,” meaning the system’s efficiency would decline and powerful players would thus lose their “ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaptation.”
It looks like his plan has worked.
“Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow, it could be us.”
In Assange’s 2006 piece, the WikiLeaks editor and founder wrote that “[t]he more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia.” Taking Assange’s suggestion at face value, Rubio’s comments seem to suggest he might have been involved in shady deals, which might explain his fear of having his communications exposed.
Looking at the Florida senator’s history as a state lawmaker may give us an idea of why WikiLeaks keeps him awake at night.
Between 2000 and 2009, Marco Rubio served as a state legislator. During most of his tenure, the Florida politician had access to the Republican Party of Florida’s American Express card, using it to cover personal expenses from 2007 to 2009.
As reporters started digging into these expenses — some of which are still secret — Marco Rubio said he had paid the GOP back. But Rubio claimed he had given the party $16,000 to cover his expenses during that period, even though “more than $100,000 in charges” had originated from the former state House speaker’s card between November 2006 and November 2008.
Rubio was also caught double-billing plane tickets and billing Florida taxpayers and the Republican Party of Florida for eight flights during his 2010 run for U.S. Senate.
As a state House legislator in Florida, Rubio started political committees that spent “nearly $150,000 on administrative and operating costs and $2,000 in candidate contributions,” and that “made questionable payments” to couriers “that included three relatives of Rubio who were doing political work around the state.”
Among many of his scandals, Rubio was also accused of using taxpayer money to fund a lavish new courthouse nicknamed the “Taj Mahal,” of never paying his mortgage, and of being closely associated with lawmakers who are under investigation for “for an exhaustive list of alleged misuses of political money.”
Maybe he should fear WikiLeaks.