Our mission at MormonLeaks is to provide sources the ability to anonymously submit sensitive documents related to Mormonism that start or expand news reporting, public commentary, and criticism that results in fewer untruths, less corruption, and less abuse within Mormonism. Maintaining the strict anonymity of our sources is our top priority. To this end — similar to the The New York Times, The Associated Press, and other media outlets — MormonLeaks uses a document submission tool known as SecureDrop that allows our sources to anonymously submit documents. When documents are submitted via this tool, our team cannot identify the source of the submission.
Recently, The Intercept published a document from the National Security Agency (NSA) that was given to them by an anonymous source. Despite The Intercept’s best efforts, the source for this particular leak was identified and is now awaiting trial. The source, 25 year old Reality Winner, was outed by the digital fingerprint left by the printer she used to print the leaked document. Many recently manufactured printers leave an almost indistinguishable series of light, yellow dots that can identify the printer serial number, date, and time the document was printed. This document was made public without the proper precautions taken to erase the digital fingerprint.
MormonLeaks always deeply analyzes and cleans all documents for any identifying data or metadata. The unfortunate unveiling of this NSA leaker is a tremendous learning opportunity for all journalistic organizations that provide sources the ability to anonymously submit sensitive documents. Going forward, MormonLeaks will continue to regularly monitor best-in-class digital scrubbing techniques and adapt our methods accordingly — including the checking and removing any identifying printer marks on all submissions.