How many more potential Edward Snowdens are out there? We may find out with the start of the Intelexit campaign, launched today by a group of Berlin-based anti-surveillance activists who want to get NSA and British spy agency GCHQ workers to reevaluate the morality of their positions and quit their jobs.
“Intelexit is an initiative that helps people leave the secret service and build a new life,” the site promises. “It is civil society’s response to the lack of oversight and undemocratic practices of intelligence agencies.”
The site offers a list of reasons why you should leave, a list of arguments to dissolve even the most practiced doublethink, and advice on recreating your life outside whichever agency you work for.
The campaign also plans to send emails, faxes, and calls to NSA numbers and addresses in hopes of persuading anyone who might be facing a moral quandary about how they make a living. They even point agents to resources for legal aid and counseling if they chose to leave.
While the NSA has yet to comment on the campaign, the GCHQ sent a statement to Wired: “The work of GCHQ is carried out within a strict legal framework and there is no question of anyone being asked to do anything unlawful or which they consider to be unethical. GCHQ actively encourages staff to discuss any concerns they might have about their work and we pride ourselves on the structures we have in place to support this.”
Campaign officials responded that although they are trying to help people leave their positions, their end game is not to destroy or demonize the intelligence community but to refine it.
“We make a clear difference between individuals and the structures they are part of,” Ariel Fischer, a pseudonymous spokesman told Wired. “We want to meet our surveillers eye to eye, and say ‘We can help you.’”