The WaPo Solution to the NYT Problem: Laura Poitras’ Misrepresentation of Assange’s 18th Charge

If you were the average NYT reader who is unfamiliar with the developments in the prosecution against Julian Assange, reading this excellent Laura Poitras op-ed calling for, “the Justice Department [to] immediately drop these charges and the president [to] pardon Mr. Assange,” might lead you to believe there were 17 charges under the Espionage Act and the original password cracking as the single overt act in a CFAA (hacking) charge, all of them 10 years old.

That was when the Justice Department indicted Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act, on top of one earlier count of conspiring to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The charges against Mr. Assange date back a decade, to when WikiLeaks, in collaboration with The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel and others, published the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and subsequently partnered with The Guardian to publish State Department cables. The indictment describes many activities conducted by news organizations every day, including obtaining and publishing true information of public interest, communication between a publisher and a source, and using encryption tools.

Of course, as emptywheel readers, you know that DOJ superseded the indictment against Assange in June, and with it extended the timeline on the CFAA conspiracy charge through 2015.

Even the original CFAA charge described a relationship between Assange and Manning that goes beyond what journalists do (I think I understand why DOJ charged it and may return to explain that in days ahead). But the current one credibly charges Assange in the same conspiracy to hack Stratfor that five other people have already pled guilty to, meaning the only question at trial would be whether DOJ can prove Assange entered into the conspiracy and took overt acts to further it, something they appear to have compelling proof he did.

The superseding indictment also describes Assange ordering up the hack of a WikiLeaks dissident. That’s not something anyone should be defending, and there’s good reason to believe it was not an isolated incident.

Poitras’ silence about the superseding indictment, however, is all the more striking given that it includes WikiLeaks’ efforts to help Edward Snowden to flee among the overt acts in the CFAA conspiracy. (I emailed Poitras to ask whether she even knows of the superseding indictment, which she may not, given the crappy coverage of it; I will update if she responds.)

84. To encourage leakers and hackers to provide stolen materials to WikiLeaks in the future, ASSANGE and others at WikiLeaks openly displayed their attempts to assist Snowden in evading arrest.

85. In June 2013, a WikiLeaks associate [Sarah Harrison] traveled with Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow.


87. At the same presentation [where Assange and Jake Appelbaum encouraged people to join the CIA to steal files, Appelbaum] said “Edward Snowden did not save himself. … Specifically for source protection, [Harrison] took actions to protect [Snowden]. … [I]f we can succeed in saving Edward Snowden’s life and to keep him free, then the next Edward Snowden will have that to look forward to. And if we look also to what has happened to Chelsea Manning, we see additionally that Snowden has clearly learned….”


90. In an interview of May 25, 2015, ASSANGE claimed to have arranged distraction operations to assist Snowden in avoiding arrest by the United States. [listing several operations, including using “presidential jets,” suggesting that the US may have searched Evo Morales’ plane in response to disinformation spread by WikiLeaks] [bolded brackets original, other brackets my own]

With these passages, DOJ wrote the first draft of what I suspect will be expanded in the near future into a dramatically different story than the one we know about Edward Snowden (whether it will be sustainable or not is another thing). And Laura Poitras, who didn’t mention these overt acts in her op-ed, was at least adjacent to many key events in this story. For example, Poitras is likely one of the few people who would know if Snowden was in contact with Jake Appelbaum before he got a job in Hawaii and started scraping files related and unrelated to programs of concern, as Snowden himself hinted in his book. If he was, then several parts of the story that Snowden has always told are probably not true.

Similarly, Poitras’ film Risk briefly hints at tensions between Poitras and Assange over how the Snowden files would be released. That, too, suggests that WikiLeaks may have had a bigger role on the front end in Snowden’s theft of NSA documents than is publicly known.

Most importantly, at least as Bart Gellman tells it in his book, both he and Poitras were quite explicit, in the wake of requests from Snowden to help him prove his identity to obtain asylum in a foreign country, about where journalism ended and sharing classified files with foreign governments might begin.

Snowden had asked Gellman to ensure that the WaPo publish the first PRISM file with his PGP key attached. At first, Gellman hadn’t thought through why Snowden made the request. Then he figured it out.

In the Saturday night email, Snowden spelled it out. He had chosen to risk his freedom, he wrote, but he was not resigned to life in prison or worse. He preferred to set an example for “an entire class of potential whistleblowers” who might follow his lead. Ordinary citizens would not take impossible risks. They had to have some hope for a happy ending.

To effect this, I intend to apply for asylum (preferably somewhere with strong internet and press freedoms, e.g. Iceland, though the strength of the reaction will determine how choosy I can be). Given how tightly the U.S. surveils diplomatic outposts (I should know, I used to work in our U.N. spying shop), I cannot risk this until you have already gone to press, as it would immediately tip our hand. It would also be futile without proof of my claims—they’d have me committed—and I have no desire to provide raw source material to a foreign government. Post publication, the source document and cryptographic signature will allow me to immediately substantiate both the truth of my claim and the danger I am in without having to give anything up. . . . Give me the bottom line: when do you expect to go to print?

Alarm gave way to vertigo. I forced myself to reread the passage slowly. Snowden planned to seek the protection of a foreign government. He would canvass diplomatic posts on an island under Chinese sovereign control. He might not have very good choices. The signature’s purpose, its only purpose, was to help him through the gates.

How could I have missed this? Poitras and I did not need the signature to know who sent us the PRISM file. Snowden wanted to prove his role in the story to someone else. That thought had never occurred to me. Confidential sources, in my experience, did not implicate themselves—irrevocably, mathematically—in a classified leak. As soon as Snowden laid it out, the strategic logic was obvious. If we did as he asked, Snowden could demonstrate that our copy of the NSA document came from him. His plea for asylum would assert a “well-founded fear of being persecuted” for an act of political dissent. The U.S. government would maintain that Snowden’s actions were criminal, not political. Under international law each nation could make that judgment for itself. The fulcrum of Snowden’s entire plan was the signature file, a few hundred characters of cryptographic text, about the length of this paragraph. And I was the one he expected to place it online for his use.

Idiot. Remember “chain of custody”? He came right out and told you he wanted a historical record.

My mind raced. When Snowden walked into a consulate, evidence of his identity in hand, any intelligence officer would surmise that he might have other classified information in reach. Snowden said he did not want to hand over documents, but his language, as I read it that night, seemed equivocal. Even assuming he divulged nothing, I had not signed up for his plan. I had agreed to protect my source’s identity in order to report a story to the public. He wanted me to help him disclose it, in private, as a credential to present to foreign governments. That was something altogether different.

Gellman realized — and Poitras seemed to agree in texts Gellman published in the book — that this request might amount to abetting Snowden’s sharing of secrets with a hostile government.

LP: oh god fuck

BG: He’s in a position to provide that material. He may be under compulsion. We REALLY can’t do anything that could abet or be perceived to abet that.

LP: of course

BG: I just wanna be a goddam journalist

Gellman and Poitras discussed the request with the lawyers WaPo consulted regarding the Snowden publications. In what might be the chilling consultation with a First Amendment lawyer that Poitras describes in her oped, one lawyer seems to have raised concerns about aiding and abetting charges, and had them both write explicit notes to Snowden denying his request to publish his key. In those notes, as published by Gellman, both drew a bright line between what they considered journalistic — protecting his identity and publishing the newsworthy files while balancing risk — and what was not.

Everyone on the call agreed that we would carry on with our story plans and protect the source’s identity as before. No one but Poitras and I knew Snowden’s name anyway. But Kevin Baine, the lead outside counsel, asked me in a no-bullshit tone to level with him. Had I ever promised to publish the full PRISM presentation or its digital signature? I had not, and Poitras said the same. Our source framed both those points as “requests” before he sent the document. Poitras and I had ducked and changed the subject. Why engage him in a hypothetical dispute? Depending on what the document said, publication in full might have been an easy yes. “You have to tell him you never agreed to that,” Baine said. Poitras and I faced a whole new kind of legal exposure now. We could not leave unanswered a “direct attempt to enlist you in assisting him with his plans to approach foreign governments.”


We hated the replies we sent to Snowden on May 26. We had lawyered up and it showed. “You were clear with me and I want to be equally clear with you,” I wrote. “There are a number of unwarranted assumptions in your email. My intentions and objectives are purely journalistic, and I will not tie them or time them to any other goal.” I was working hard and intended to publish, but “I cannot give you the bottom line you want.”

Poitras wrote to him separately.

There have been several developments since Monday (e.g., your decision to leave the country, your choice of location, possible intentions re asylum), that have come as a surprise and make [it] necessary to be clear. As B explained, our intentions and objectives are journalistic. I believe you know my interest and commitment to this subject. B’s work on the topic speaks for itself. I cannot travel to interview you in person. However, I do have questions if you are still willing to answer them. [my emphasis]

If Assange (or anyone associated with him) is ever tried on the superseding indictment, I’d be surprised if these passages weren’t introduced at trial. Here you have two of the key journalists who published the Snowden files, laying out precisely where WikiLeaks fails the NYT problem that DOJ, under Obama, could never get past in any prosecution of Julian Assange.

“The problem the department has always had in investigating Julian Assange is there is no way to prosecute him for publishing information without the same theory being applied to journalists,” said former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller told the Post. “And if you are not going to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, which the department is not, then there is no way to prosecute Assange.”

In 2013, before the first Snowden files got published, Gellman and Poitras and the Washington Post solved the New York Times problem. Helping Snowden flee to a foreign country — which, given Snowden’s plan to meet them in Hong Kong, they assumed might include to an adversarial nation like China — was not journalistic and, seemingly even according to the journalists, might be abetting Snowden’s sharing of files with a hostile foreign government.

Which is why Poitras’ silence about these charges in her bid to dismiss the charges against Assange undermines her argument.

Again, I absolutely agree with Poitras that the Espionage charges, as charged, pose a real risk to journalism. But the government is going to use the CFAA charge to explain how Assange’s methods are different from journalists. And Poitras’ own actions may well be part of that proof.

46 replies
  1. Chetnolian says:

    You understand this stuff so we don’t have to!

    Can you remind us whether the amended Indictment has been introduced in the Extradition Hearings and has the US Government given evidence as to why? As this change appears clearly to alter (and arguably strengthen) the justification for extradition, one assumes they would have made much of it, but UK reporting does not seem to have identified that. Have they, like Laura Poitras, just missed it or has it been hidden away? If the latter, why would that be done?

    • emptywheel says:

      They did. At the September hearing, Assange asked to delay consideration of it, but Baraitser refused (their request was bad faith in any case since at the same time they were complaining that this has all been public for years, which is also true). Of note, it’s just an expanded set of overt acts on the same charge, so the total charges remain the same. So as far as I understand, USG didn’t have to present a reason. The extradition request is the same, just with more evidence provided.

      Assange’s team didn’t deal with it bc it is devastating to their PR strategy, which was (aside from the Lauri Love gambit) their primary strategy. And as you presumably know better than I do, the US doesn’t have to prove their charges in the extradition hearing, Assange has to prove they’re totally unsubstantiated (among other things). So the US had nothing to gain by forcing Assange to focus on this more closely, as the overt acts will be before Baraitser, effectively unrebutted, in any case.

      As I’ve been suggesting for a year, I expect DOJ will supersede again in February, incorporating whatever happens with Assange and Snowden pardons and Trump’s own actions, and including WL’s US-based publications from 2015 through 2018. My suspicion is they’ll use Vault 7 to show how what WL did always remained the same, from 2007 to 2018, and it was coopted by RU early in that process.

  2. Chetnolian says:

    Thank you. But despite the lack of need to provide all the evidence, the US is constrained if Assange is extradited to try him on offences “based on the same facts”. As we all know, what you call the “PR” argument is a bit of a cover for a belief by Assange and his supporters, not all of whom have drunk the Wikileaks kool-aid, that once they have him the US Govt. might simply up the ante, imprison him and throw away the key.

    But they wouldn’t do that, would they?

    • emptywheel says:

      I think the big question, if he is extradited, whether the UK will waive rule of specialty (which is why I’m interested in whether they will with Minh Quang Pham, not least bc I think there are a lot of parallels between the cases). Also of interest is whether UK would let them supersede, including claims about being a Russian agent, in February. If they do make that claim — and the public record says they believe he is one (big Q is whether they’d want to use the classified evidence to prove it) — then it will likely shift the PR balance considerably.

      One thing WL supporters seem not to have noticed is that the limits on Espionage Act which Ron Wyden wrote and Ro Khanna has sponsored in the House was written to EXCLUDE WL from protection. So Wyden, at least, seems to have changed his views abt the danger of prosecuting WL under the Espionage Act.

      • Chetnolian says:

        I can’t speak for WL supporters in the USA, nor to be fair for those in the UK, but I can say with some certainty that changes in the US Espionage Act will be of little if any interest to them. And we do need to recall that, while with a bit of luck Joe Biden will be able to do something to improve the recent drastic loss of respect in the Government of the USA in other countries, the UK Government, despite its large majority in Parliament, is extraordinarily shaky and unlikely to get stronger once the populace sees what Brexit really means to them. So it is all too possible to foresee a UK Government feeling it is simply better to fail to allow the extradition of Assange, but then to throw him out to let him try his luck in Australia.
        I still expect Vanessa Baraitser to decide for extradition though.

        • Chetnolian says:

          I missed this. I doubt few except me over here really care what happens to Trump now. We are still staring open-mouthed at what is happening in what we friends of USA used to be able to tell our doubting progressive friends was at least a stable democracy. Well that’s that argument gone then.

        • emptywheel says:

          If Trump pardons Assange, I suspect a charge implicating the two in the pardon quid pro quo could be the vehicle to challenge any self pardon.

      • bmaz says:

        Lol, while certainly unacknowledged formally, am pretty sure that has already happened as to the rule of specialty.

  3. dc says:

    This analysis seems pretty spot on. I have not heard any Assange backers address the superseding indictment for crimes that are not actually journalism.

    • Silly but True says:

      The key item of June 2020 superseding indictment was the additional Manning conspiracy information — aiding and abetting of Manning in cracking the password (and then directing Manning to specific memory locations of the illegally intruded government data storage archive).

      This is clearly espionage, not journalism. (Well, it might very well also be what some extreme transparency advocates consider investigative journalism but still highly illegal, nonetheless.)

        • Silly but True says:

          Eureka! I keep forgetting that the May 2019 indictment was itself a superceding indictment.

          The original charge is the Manning conspiracy, but all DoJ and reporters ever hyped relative to May 2019 and June 2020 were continuations of Manning charges.

          It definitely is laziness and forgetfulness on my part as casual follower of Manning/Assange cases. I’m not sure what the reporters excuses are though covering it.

  4. PeterS says:

    Thank you for this. I deduce that the op-ed (behind paywall for me) is “excellent” except for the ways in which it is defective :)

  5. square1 says:

    To what extent did Assange’s overt offers to DJT Jr. to help the Trump campaign by selectively releasing emails in 2016 also fail Poitras’ journalistic standards by tying and timing publication to the goal of getting Trump elected? And why has Assange never been charged on campaign-finance or conspiracy charges as a result?

  6. Peterr says:

    You’ve laid out a very good picture of the situation related to two of the three parties here. What’s missing is anything about the third party: the UK.

    For the last 16 months, there’s been another extradition case that goes in the other direction. In August 2019, the wife of a US intelligence officer stationed in the UK was driving on the wrong side of the road, and killed 19 year old Harry Dunn. She claimed diplomatic immunity, and was quickly whisked back to the US, before things began to unravel. The claim was not a clear-cut as was first believed, and her subsequent unwillingness to return voluntarily to face charges has pissed off a sizable chunk of the UK. The US government, similarly, has refused the UK’s extradition request flat out.

    Enter Boris Johnson.

    Johnson is stuck right now on several fronts. He’s botched the whole Brexit thing, scheduled to come crashing into effect on January 1. He’s been criticized roundly for his handling of COVID-19, and that has only gotten worse with the news of the emergence in the UK of a much more contagious variant of the virus. He’s been trying to clean house in his own government, canning Dominic Raab (who among other things, got caught flaunting earlier no-travel orders) and losing the support of others.

    I would not be surprised to see Boris Johnson, desperate to change the subject away from COVID-19 and Brexit, decide that standing up to a US extradition request was just the thing to do, at least until the US makes Anne Socoolas available to the UK’s justice system.

    As I understand it, the question at issue now in the UK court is Assange asking to have the court refuse to allow the US to extradite him. What I don’t know is the answer to a separate question: if Assange loses, does that compel the UK government to extradite him, or could Boris decide on his own not to do so?

    If it’s the latter, things could get very interesting indeed.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      But surely, in order for the above to work, Johnson would have to intervene in the work of an independent judiciary? Isn’t it up to Baraitser to decide, rather than Johnson? Or is she only in the business of issuing a recomendation to the government?

      • Peterr says:

        That doesn’t mean that some folks won’t equate them anyway. With the isolationist bent of the Brexiteers, the “You won’t honor our request? Why should we honor yours?” mentality is there in some.

        • bmaz says:

          What folks do is irrelevant. Even UK courts have so far protected the diplomatic angle. You know, the angle that Assange does not even possess in fantasy land. The cases are not remotely similar.

      • Chetnolian says:

        It may seem so from Arizona but trust me not from here. You have to understand how much fury there is at the USA in unlikely places (as in not left wing, who always hate the USA) over Sacoolas.

        As to Peterr’s question. The decision is the judge’s in the first case. It is whether the Government has a right to extradite. If she decides to extradition is permissable (and of course subject to an appeal(, . any final decision on whether to exercise the right would in essence be political. A Government can decide not to exercise their right to extradite.

        I would hesitate to call the politics at the moment.

        Bmaz might be right about there having been an understanding not to make waves but that was with the Trump administration and there might b well have been quid pro quos for that (an easy trade agreement). Even if that was ever deliverable, which I doubt, he can’t rely on Joe to help him.

        One thing you need to understand about Boris. He’s not a monster like Trump, but he’s an op-ed journalist by trade and at heart has a very superficial understanding of issues, and will always, given a choice, choose short term political advantage and popularity over what is good for the country.

    • emptywheel says:

      Dunno. I defer to Chetnolian about those types of things. Though I will note that the UK is probably an easier place for the spooks to take out a pol than the US, and the spooks would presumably strongly support the US position on both fronts.

      Even the current charges include “coalition” partners among those WikiLeaks exposed. I suspect the damage Vault 7 did may be far graver.

  7. David says:

    Hypothetically, could a Biden Admin DOJ drop the espionage act charges against Assange and/or Snowden, while adding Vault 7 to the former and effectively calling the latter’s bluff on a public interest defense? I realize, this assumes an increasingly unlikely no pardons scenario…

    • bmaz says:

      Hypothetically, sure. But such a shift would, as discussed previously, require a waiver from the extraditing jurisdiction, the UK, of the rule of specialty. I do not expect espionage charges to be deleted though, only supplemented.

  8. Ginevra diBenci says:

    I have never known what to make of Snowden. He seems both by nature and intention averse to Assangian grandiosity. But I doubt anyone could resist playing into the diva role in which Greenwald and others cast him, and I feel like I’m hearing that in one of the above-cited passages:

    “I intend to apply for asylum . . . Given how tightly the U.S. surveils diplomatic outposts . . . , I cannot risk this until you have already gone to press, as it would immediately tip our hand. It would also be futile without proof of my claims—they’d have me committed—and I have no desire to provide raw source material to a foreign government.”

    They’d have me committed. Was this a joke? Who is “they,” exactly? Is there now, or was there then, some mechanism within the national security community whereby a Snowden might be “committed”–that is, involuntarily confined–and if so, where? It would make much more sense to me if he had written “they’d throw me in prison.” He’s a careful guy, which makes me wonder.

    • Valley girl says:

      I’ve been rereading and mulling over what you’ve said (champion muller here). My best guess is that when he said “they’d have me committed” he was speaking idiomatically, as in “they’d call me crazy” when he applied for asylum. A bit of a light hearted conceit, offered as he tries to guilt-trip BG. twist his arm, into publish something Snowden had other reasons for wanting published.

        • Valley girl says:

          Oh hello punaise! I didn’t see you standing there. Having not seen a comment from you in a while, I was beginning to worry a bit, but voilà !

          This is the first day in quite a while that I haven’t spent the morning (which usually starts around noon) exploring Fr etym. I get sucked into all kinds of interesting things. For example pre- from prae- and then on to reading about the Praetorian Guard, and wondering who qualifies as Trump’s Praetorian Guard. As the role of the PG changed over time, I got stuck.

          Also yesterday skittered into the suffix -ard/ -asse. Some very interesting new-to-me words, such as chauffard and blondasse, and some others I won’t repeat here.

          Hope you and yours are well.

  9. graham firchlis says:

    Even if Assange gets a US pardon or is exempted from extradition, he still faces credible serious criminal charges in the UK, Australia and Ecuador.

    While there have been suggestions he might escape to safety in a friendly country, he wasn’t able to do so while he had cover from Ecuador. Russia reportedly mounted repeated efforts to extract him, all abandoned as unworkable. Likely US/UK IC were fully aware.

    The Ecuador escape gambit is toast, as his citizenship was suspended the day before their embassy opened the doors to UK police. Ecuador arrested an Assange associate, Ola Bini, the next day as he tried to leave the country, and the administration is pursuing charges of attempting to overthrow the government against Bini, Assange and others.

    If the UK decides not to charge Assange, he will be deported to his country of origin – Australia. There are avenues for appeal, but none are likely to succeed. Convicted of jumping bail to avoid expulsion to Sweden, he’ll be held in Belmarsh until he’s put on a plane, handcuffed in UK custody.

    The suggestion that Boris Johnson might somehow intervene to safeguard Assange is unfounded. Johnson already has an overwhelming number of self-induced disasters to deal with. Simultaneously angering the entire Five Eyes IC establishment would be political suicide.

    Rather than being safe in Oz, Assange faces the high probability of being charged under Australian law. The various laws that apply are reviewed here:

    I’ve heard unconfirmed reports that at least one Australian covert agent was outed by WikiLeaks releases. But under Aussie law it is a crime merely to possess knowledge of a covert asset’s identity. No evidence of intent to divulge need be shown. WikiLeaks own admission that efforts were made to redact covert asset identities prior to document release demonstrates awareness of criminal possession. Depending on which law violations are charged, Assange could face 2 to 25 years.

    He has no support from anyone in real power in Australia. All major party leaders have either openly condemned Assange’s acts or pointedly refused to offer support. Even leadership in his formerly allied Green Party wants nothing to do with him.

    Assange has fewer supporters by the day, and a formidable host of powerful, determined enemies. Sloppy apologias like Poitras’ will have no beneficial effect on his fate. As Marcie posits, her statement only worsens his position.

    • bmaz says:

      Golly, thanks for saying things that have been pointed out here for years, and certainly long before you wandered in.

      Secondly, her name is MARCY, not “Marcie”.

      Lastly, yes, there are some powerful people in AU that do indeed support Assange. How far that would go is unclear, but blankly saying there is no such support is yet another example of you blowing poo out your rear. You are becoming quite well known for that.

  10. CD54 says:

    Wikileaks extended operates more like a royal court degenerating into cultism.

    There’s good faith objective journalism, and there’s bad faith selective journalism. Which one is WL defending?

  11. Silly but True says:

    I am quite certain a Snowden who stayed would not have spent more than year in jail. His mystique I think was of sufficient critical mass.

    But I think the ship has sailed on any Assange pardon in US. That had started becoming clear when both the Clintons and the Pompeos of the world both label you an enemy of the State.

    But I’d probably lose both bets; there’s still a lot we don’t know that will come out in trials for either one should US even wish to show the evidence.

      • Silly but True says:

        I submit Snowden would not have served out his full sentence; he would have been let out by POTUS of either party under public good argument.

        I think a 10 year or greater sentence would’ve actually helped his case as “persecuted American hero.”

      • BobCon says:

        I don’t know the differences in the cases, but Jonathan Pollard got a life sentence for an Espionage Act conviction (28 years served). I know the intelligence community pushed hard against his release despite a lot of political pressure from both parties, and I suspect Snowden would have a lot less backing.

        I’m sure a fair chunk of how it might play out compared to the Pollard case would depend on the actual damage done by Snowden, and I am not qualified to say how that compares to Pollard, who certainly committed a major crime.

        • bmaz says:

          My estimation, hypothetical as it was, presupposed that Snowden pled guilty, accepted responsibility, cooperated and did not give defiant dumbass interviews to Wolf Blitzer. Something Pollard could not manage.

  12. BobCon says:

    CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang notes that the White House Executive Office sent out a memo last night to all staff about procedures for leaving, including cleaning microwaves and fridges. Departures are scheduled to begin January 4.

    She notes that many top staff have already left or stopped showing up. I’m curious what effect this will have on the quality of remaining pardons.

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