MSNBC Blogger: Is Hacker Who Took on WikiLeaks, Jihadist Websites 'A Villain or a Hero?'

A hacker who styles him "th3 j35t3r" -- The Jester in plain English -- has made quite a name for himself disabling jihadist websites and, more recently, the U.S. national security-threatening site WikiLeaks.

While his methods are technically illegal, The Jester's motivations are patriotic, aimed at saving American lives on the battlefield.

Yet in telling his story, MSNBC's Red Tape Chronicles blog wonders with its headline if the "WikiLeaks hacker [is] a villain or a hero?"

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Headline aside, MSNBC blogger Bob Sullivan's December 7 post itself is fairly balanced, and poignantly notes The Jester's internal conflict about his hacktivism (emphasis mine):

"I do wrestle with whether what I am doing is right, but figure if I can make their [the jihadists] communications unreliable for them, all the better," he told InfoSecIsland. And he signs many communications with the phrase: "There is an equal amount of good and bad in most things. The trick is to work out the ratio."

 

When asked how long he plans to continue his vigilante attacks, he sounded even more ambivalent.

 

"As long as my nerves will hold out. It's a serious situation I find myself in, the bad guys want to slice my head off on YouTube with a rusty blade, and the good guys want to lock me up in an orange jumpsuit ... along with the bad guys," he wrote.

That's wildly different from the attitude of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who arrogantly and publicly casts himself as a journalist "speaking truth to power" by exposing any and every state secret he can get his hands on, consequences be damned.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters