CIA Discovers Wikipedia

Well, seems like someone did not tell staffers at the CIA that Wikipedia has become more vigilant in monitoring ‘who changes what’ on the online encyclopedia. A sidebar story “Look Who’s Using Wiki To Rewrite History” from Capital Insider (Business Week, March 13, 2006, p. 49, By Richard S. Dunham) reports as follows:

“… What does the CIA have against Bill Clinton? In the latest episode of virtual vandalism by federal employees, CIA staffers have been caught altering entries in Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone with an Internet connection. Someone using an agency computer changed Wiki’s Clinton entry to note that the ex-President was “dumber” than his GOP predecessors. Spooks aren’t the only ones playing dirty tricks. Wiki reports that computer users at the Justice Dept., Marine Corps, and Navy have politicized entries in recent weeks.

Earlier this year, Wikipedia blocked Capitol Hill access to the site after lawmaker entries were subjected to political spin and fabrications. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales calls the shenan-igans “routine.” …”

What will they think of next?


  1. New York Times for Sunday March 12 (in Business section) had an interesting and quite sceptical take on the entire enterprise of Wikipedia

  2. Interesting article. This key quote, towards the end:

    When asked what problems on the site he viewed as most pressing, Mr. Wales [Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia] said he was concerned with passing along the Wikipedian culture to newcomers. He sounded wistful when he spoke of the days not so long ago when he could visit an article that was the subject of a flame war and would know at least some participants — and whether they could resolve the dispute tactfully.

    As the project has grown, he has found that he no longer necessarily knows anyone in a group. When a dispute flared recently over an article related to a new dog breed, he looked at the discussion and asked himself in frustration, “Who are these people?”

    Isn’t this precisely the question all users are bound to ask about contributors?

    From NYT article: “Anonymous source is not the same as open source” by Randall Stross. I don’t know if this article requires a subscription or not, but here is the link:

  3. Connie, apropos of your NYT link, you might take a look at the New York Tims lilnk generator: It’s a way of generating a permanent link for a blog entry, and, moreover, one that non-fee-paying people can use. It depends upon the NYT RSS feed, I gather. And it seems that the Times doesn’t object. See also:

  4. Thanks, Simon! I wasn’t aware of the archival link generator. Here is a better link for the NYT article I pointed to earlier in the week: