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WikiLeaks film screens at Mercyhurst

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sometimes, the most thrilling stories are the ones no scriptwriter could dream up.

We Steal Secrets, a new documentary following the real-life scandal of the website WikiLeaks, will screen at Mercyhurst University on Sunday, March 2, at 2 p.m. followed by a panel discussion featuring faculty members from the intelligence studies, philosophy and political science departments. The film is presented in partnership with the Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst. Viewing is in Taylor Little Theatre.

Acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney takes the reins for this no-holds-barred look at one of the most unusual phenomena of early 21st century media. In 2006, an Iceland-based outfit called The Sunshine Press launched the website As run by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange, the site's mandate involved regularly publishing top-secret documents and covert information – often regarding governments and their respective military operations.

As might be expected, this set off a firestorm between those who admired the organization's bravado and resourcefulness, and those who argued, not unjustly, that the dissemination of data regarding such events as the U.S. war in Afghanistan could put untold numbers of lives at risk.

In We Steal Secrets, Gibney relays the story of the WikiLeaks website from the inside, and moves beyond black and white to penetrate a complex network of activity guided by courage and idealism but also allegedly guilty of ethical insensitivity and hypocrisy.

Panelists include Arthur Mills (intelligence studies), Thomas Donahue (philosophy), Stephen Zidek (intelligence studies) and Michael Federici (political science).

Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for students/seniors and $1 for Mercyhurst students (with ID). For tickets, call 814-824-3000 or visit

About the Panelists:
Arthur H. Mills II is assistant professor of intelligence studies at Mercyhurst University. He served as a US Department of State Foreign Service Officer for 22 years, with overseas postings in Latin America, Africa, Europe and South Asia, as well as assignments in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, where he specialized in terrorism analysis. Mills joined the Mercyhurst intelligence studies program in 2005.

Thomas Donahue is an associate professor of philosophy at Mercyhurst University. He has been teaching a wide range of courses at Mercyhurst for the past 28 years. His area of specialization is applied ethics. He has published is several academic and non-academic publications, including The Journal of Value Inquiry, The Christian Science Monitor, the Hartford Courant and the American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy.

Stephen Zidek serves as an assistant professor teaching undergraduate and graduate students in the intelligence studies program at Mercyhurst University. Prior to that, he co-founded a cyberintelligence and strategic business company called GenuFi, Inc., catering to corporate and government organizations concerned about intellectual property protection, monetization of premium online content, and cybersecurity. Prior to founding GenuFi and after leaving the US government, he joined the private sector as vice president and director of the Anti-Piracy Intelligence Center at the Motion Picture Association in Los Angeles, an organization dedicated to identifying and mitigating intellectual property and cybercrimes affecting the six major Hollywood Studios. Before entering into the private sector, Zidek worked as an intelligence officer for the U.S. government in a number of analytical and policy positions at the US Department of State and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Zidek is a decorated Marine for his service in Iraq and is now a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. As a Marine reservist, he has served with the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, the Joint Staff’s Intelligence Branch (J2) and Navy-Marine Intelligence Training Command besides numerous infantry commands.

Michael P. Federici is professor of political science at Mercyhurst University. He currently serves as department chair. He previously served as Faculty Senate president and on the university’s Board of Trustees from 2011-2013 and 2007-2009. He is in his 25th year of college teaching. He received his Ph.D. in politics from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (1990), his M.A. from CUA in 1985, and his B.S. in economics from Elizabethtown College in 1983. Federici has published five books and a co-edited collection of essays. He has also published several articles and book reviews. Federici’s teaching and research areas include American Government, Constitutional Law, Political Theory and American Political Thought. He serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Humanitas and is president of The Academy of Philosophy and Letters.