On Friday night, a still-unknown person using an internet protocol address tied to the U.S. Senate edited the Wikipedia page for NSA leaker Edward Snowden to change the description of him from “American dissident” to “American traitor.”
Wikipedia allows guest users to edit pages without a username, but the IP address is shown. The IP address used by the editor who added “traitor” to the Snowden page Friday tracks to the United States Senate network, suggesting the change may have been made by a Senate member or staffer.
This same IP address was also used to edit Wikipedia pages on a line of handguns, an Uzbek city, Persian history, a tiki bar in San Francisco, Washington Post Company CEO Donald Graham, and Mitch Albom’s novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The IP address was also used to correct a reference in an article on pork that incorrectly described the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service as a part of the FDA rather than the USDA.
The Snowden page has been the subject of intense debate among Wikipedia’s community of volunteer editors. Over 3,000 edits have been made to the page since it was created June 9.