It didn’t take long (mere minutes after swearing in, in fact) for the Trump administration to begin carrying out its campaign to squelch climate data, bury research, promote alternative facts, intimidate reporters, and block public employees from talking with … the public. Many federal agencies are now led by officials who once tried to tear them down. Exhibit A: Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma attorney general frequently sued the EPA over its attempts to regulate polluters and protect public health.
Of course, attempts to hide important information from the public are by no means confined to the Trump administration. (Reminder: Exxon knew.) Whether you work in government, academia, NGOs, or the corporate world, if you’re privy to information that can help Grist provide the real scoop — on climate science, energy development, food and product safety, public lands, ag policy, environmental justice, or related topics — we’d love to hear from you.
Straight talk: There’s no 100 percent secure method to leak, but here are some good options for making contact.
- Use our contact form.
This is for the routine stuff, when you have no need or desire to hide your identity. It’s the fastest and easiest way to contact us, but also the least secure. Find it here.
- Text us via Signal.
Signal is an encrypted app for making cellphone calls or sending texts and images. It does not retain metadata, meaning communications are secure and untraceable. Here’s who is using Signal in the Grist newsroom:
Executive Editor Scott Dodd: 929-369-0190
Reporter Emma Foehringer Merchant: 650-550-0914
You have to add us to the phone’s address book first, so as a precaution, use a fake name for us, and we’ll do the same for you. (See the Signal FAQ for help setting up contacts.) For even more security, you can use cash to purchase a cheap “burner” smartphone that comes with a prepaid plan, so that it’s not connected to your identity.
- Use ProtonMail.
Based in Switzerland, this secure email service is easy to set up and fully encrypts messages sent from one account to another. After you’ve gotten your own ProtonMail set up, send an email from your new account to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Call our landline.
Yep, the old-fashioned telly still works great. Just don’t use your own phone, or one that can be easily traced to you. (Can you still find a payphone? Use a payphone.) Our main office number is 206-876-2020. Ask for one of our editors or writers. You can find a newsroom staff list here.
- Send it by snail mail.
Did someone say old-fashioned? Yeah, it’s slow, so don’t use it for the most timely or urgent tips. But the postal service is still the most simple and secure method for transmitting physical documents. Pop ‘em in an envelope with no return address, find a mailbox on the street (don’t send it from your home or office), and mail it to:
Attn: News Tips (or a specific writer/editor)
1201 Western Ave, Suite 410
Seattle, WA 98101
Please include a secure way for us to contact you via Signal, ProtonMail, or other means in case the document or data you’re sending requires further explanation or follow-up.
- Move a potted plant on your balcony.
If we sound a little glib, it’s because that’s our style. But we take the safety and security of our staff and potential sources very seriously. If you put our trust in us, we’ll do everything we can to protect it. For more about the ethics and implications of leaking (including what constitutes a “good leak” vs. a “bad leak”), give this a read.