I Guess Everything Can Be Blamed on Millennials…

I was born on May 22, 1987, which means I’m fast approaching my 30th birthday (oh god… and I still only have my Bachelor’s and work in retail… ugh…). It also means that I’m a Millennial.

And boy do people love blaming us for everything.

This time, we’re being blamed for… WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 (from IBTimes):

A former US spy chief has spoken out about WikiLeaks’ release of alleged Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents, claiming the US federal government may be suffering due to cultural differences between old spymasters and fresh-faced “millennials”.

This week (7 March), the whistleblowing website published a cache of over 8,000 documentsapparently from an expert CIA cyber unit, detailing computer network exploitation and malware-based hacking tools. In an analysis, WikiLeaks indicated a rogue insider was the source.

“In order to do this kind of stuff [intelligence work] we have to recruit from a certain demographic,” Michael Hayden, who has served as both the head of the CIA and NSA, told the BBC in an interview, responding to a question about the source of the leak.

“I don’t mean to judge them at all, but this group of millennials and related groups simply have different understandings of the words loyalty, secrecy and transparency than certainly my generation did,” he continued.

Oh great. So now we’re all the traitors…

“Culturally they have different instincts than the people who made the decision to hire them,” Hayden added. “We may be running into this different cultural approach that we saw with Chelsea Manning, with Edward Snowden and now, perhaps, with a third actor.”

I mean, to be completely fair, this isn’t a bad thing. I’m one of those who thinks our government should operate on total transparency to us. In theory, our government should work for us, so it shouldn’t be keeping secrets from us. Of course, in reality, this is not at all how it works… and so we sort of need whistleblowers… and, as I’ve always said, I support whistleblowers and whistleblowing.

Although I do sort of like Hayden’s shot at WikiLeaks:

“This is about foreign intelligence collection, it doesn’t invoke the privacy rights of Americans,” he said. “Isn’t it surprising that WikiLeaks, this transparency engine, seems to be focused only on transparency about the USA and its friends, not totalitarian regimes around the world.”

Although, this isn’t strictly true, as you can find leaks from various totalitarian regimes on WikiLeaks if you know how to look. But in a lot of ways, getting leaks from, say, North Korea, is going to be a lot harder then getting leaks from the US, so…

I’m still pretty angry at WikiLeaks for its role in the presidential election, so I’m still in a “they can go fuck themselves sideways into the ocean with a cactus” mode with them. However, Vault 7 is a rather fascinating look-through, so… if you’re interested… here it is. And here’s the breakdown for people like me who can’t read technical code…


  1. scottbelyea says

    “And boy do people love blaming us for everything.”

    A little perspective would help. As a baby boomer, I heard, “Well, they can’t compare to our generation; we went through the war mutter mutter …”

    I daresay you could find similar comments generation by generation as far back as you want to look.

  2. Siobhan says

    Ah yes, that fabled hacker technique of unbolting the server and walking out of the building with it.

  3. Andrew Dalke says

    Charlie Stross gives an entirely different interpretation, which I am more inclined to believe, at http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/29/spy-kids/ . 50 years ago if you worked for the NSA you were an employee and you could and often did have that job for life, with a good government pension and health care. “A major consequence of the 1970s resurgence of neoliberal economics was the deregulation of labor markets and the deliberate destruction of the job-for-life culture…”

    Now, there are more people like Snowden, who worked for the NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Or Keith Alexander who wanted to reduce the NSA’s number of sys admins from 1,000 to 100 (see http://www.businessinsider.com/nsa-firing-sysdadmins-2013-8?r=US&IR=T&IR=T ). For Generation Y, “[e]mployers are alien hive-mind colony intelligences that will fuck you over for the bottom line on the quarterly balance sheet. They’ll give you a laptop and tell you to hot-desk or work at home so that they can save money on office floor space and furniture. They’ll dangle the offer of a permanent job over your head but keep you on a zero-hours contract for as long as is convenient.”

    This sort of at-will employment relationship doesn’t help build the same amount of long-term trust. Hayden is 71. It’s his generation which rejected the idea that employers should be loyal to employees. No wonder the new generation has a “different understanding”.

    (See also Stross’s blog post at http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/08/snowden-leaks-the-real-take-ho.html and Bruce Schneier’s commentary at https://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/2013/09/the_spooks_need_new.html .)

  4. Dunc says

    It’s actually a problem that’s been common to spooks since time immemorial. You are, by definition, employing the sneakiest fuckers you can find, to lie and cheat on a professional basis. It’s not exactly surprising that they turn out to be untrustworthy.

  5. blf says

    We can blame everything on Millennials?
    Ok, great! So it is all yer fault I woke up late, banged my toe, have no clean socks, and there were some murders on the Orient Express. As well as the Earth not being hollow, the Seals base on the farside of the Moon, and the lack of snakes in Ireland. Plus the Weeping Angle lurking outside my lair, and a misspelled dwarf named Glod. Peas, whilst being known & feared a long time ago, must also then be all your fault.

    Of course, there is also cheese, Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, and none of my other toes hurt, which is all yer fault as well — who said Millennials were only responsible for the bad things?

    Horses, however, are inexcusable. What were you thinking?!

  6. says

    Hayden is 71. It’s his generation which rejected the idea that employers should be loyal to employees

    Hayden is a millionaire old authoritarian. Of course he’s going to think kids today are slackers. They haven’t licked his boots enthusiastically enough.

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