Securing Our National Security
Of course they would never intend to do any harm to our government, the efforts it is giving, the goals it is pursuing, or our national security: at least that is WikiLeaks story. WikiLeaks has, for the major part of its functioning, been relatively responsible, and fairly astute in the publications it brings to the web. For the most part, WikiLeaks does the country a public service; revealing the deals and bribes that take place in the shadows of Capitol Hill is a noble cause; governmental transparency is after all one of the major campaign promises of President Obama (not that he has anything to do with WikiLeaks). If transparency is a large enough concern in our public for a Presidential candidate to make a campaign promise to change the status quo, than we need more transparency, plain and simple: but this time, WikiLeaks has crossed to line. When WikiLeaks publishes documents or press releases relative to our nation’s citizens it does a public service; when WikiLeaks publishes a quarter million un-redacted diplomatic and national security cables, it does our national security, our government, and therefore, our citizens, immeasurable amounts of damage. Our nation is not alone, there were many others affected as well.
WikiLeaks released 251,287 un-redacted cables this week, putting lives and operations in danger. When the Articles of Confederation proved unsuccessful in governing a set of new states, the Constitutional Convention was organized to repair the Articles. It was soon clear that the United States of America needed some form of central government in order to stabilize the political climate and competition between states. Any form of strong central power was widely opposed; therefore, the delegates at the constitutional convention vowed to complete secrecy and silence on the proceedings of the committee. Had their intentions and plans been WikiLeaked it is very plausible that our current Constitution would have never been formed or ratified.
Imagine what consequences would have ascended had the secret talks between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill been WikiLeaked; or the talks and research of the Manhattan Project. The Nazi party and Third Reich would have been privy to our development of a nuclear weapon, and our wartime strategies. Had the USSR hierarchy been aware of the kind of developments which were taking place behind the scenes between President Reagan and his far less than normal anti-capitalist counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev, the entire landscape of the Soviet Union and the talks which ended the Cold War would have shifted dramatically out of political necessity for Mr. Gorbachev.
The point here is: more often than common citizens would think, transparency can hurt us more than it can help us. This is one of those cases. In these un-redacted cables from WikiLeaks we may have just alerted the enemy to an abundance of intelligence with which they can murder innocent civilians, invaluable informants, and loyal hardworking soldiers of all coalition nations. Diplomatic talks (though most likely not on the scale of the Cold War) which could prove very beneficial to the world and our nation, may now collapse due to anti-American sentiment, or opposition to a policy. The identity of CIA informants, counterterrorism spies, Special Forces operatives, military wartime plans and operations details, and other information, which is kept secret out of necessity could now be compromised because of WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks has published a blog post editorial condemning the release of the un-redacted cables, but that does not mean they are innocent. We have seen many agencies issue a condemning statements of actions which they were responsible for. How did this information come to be released? Let the blame game begin. Apparently WikiLeaks has had these files for a long time, and in the beginning of 2010 sent them to a reporter for the British newspaper, Guardian, David Leigh, with an encrypted password to keep the file secret. Months later, WikiLeaks published documents—a small percentage of these cables included, though in redacted from—on their website for the public. Attached to that publication was a mysterious file with a nonsensical name. In a recent book published by Leigh he revealed the password to the file WikiLeaks sent to him months ago. A newspaper in Germany put the password together with the nonsense file on the WikiLeaks website, and opened up a fire sale on classified information. Then, in order to marginalize the advantage of their competitors, WikiLeaks actually published and made public all these cables, no password required, in full, and un-redacted on their website. When this happened, Julian Assange the founder of WikiLeaks, threw the blame at Leigh for making the password public. Leigh then fired back saying what he published made no sense, and was insignificant; had WikiLeaks never put the top secret file on their website to begin with, this problem would have never occurred. There were still yet more sources trying to save their credibility. Several newspapers, including the Guardian, which Leigh worked for, and the New York Times, which has also been a contributor to WikiLeaks, have issued a joint statement condemning WikiLeaks for making such security sensitive information public.
At this point, WikiLeaks had put lives in danger. You can only imagine an Al Qaeda informant giving information to the United States military which contributed to the death of now Al Qaeda number two man Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, being exposed to Al Qaeda because of this. This hypothetical informant would now lose all confidence in the United States ability to keep their assets safe; and rightfully so. He would have to flee from the terrorists, tell his family (which he would most likely never see again) to do the same, and pray to Allah they were never discovered. Moreover, this informant would advise every person he came in contact with; current informants, would be informants, undercover informants, and everyone else who might listen, never to do dealings with the United States, because their safety would be compromised. Terrorist propaganda and recruiting would have a field day on this, shouting from the rooftops to all within their sphere of influence that the United States will betray you, Al Qaeda will not. This is only one of hundreds of plausible scenarios in which the new WikiLeaks cables cause catastrophic damage to our nation, our military, or our government. Thankfully, somebody—presumably the government, and rightfully so—hacked into the WikiLeaks site and initiated a cyber-attack, soon making the site, and the cables inaccessible. The United States State Department then issued a statement condemning the “illegal disclosure of classified information.” WikiLeaks then tweeted a shocking statement in angry response: “Dear governments, if you don’t want your filth exposed, then stop acting like pigs. Simple.” To WikiLeaks credit, there is allegedly a military cover-up of 10 Iraqi citizens murdered by the US military. Even still, this is a matter for the state department. Vigilante justice has no place in this matter, because in doing so, untold amounts of lives were put in danger by the information released. Had WikiLeaks publicized only the information supposedly connected with this alleged war crime, and redacted names and units to keep public backlash to a minimum; therefore, only contributing to an investigation and real military justice for any soldiers who may have been involved; that would be very admirable. What they did, however, was inexcusable.
When a major security breach of classified information such as this takes place, someone needs to answer. If it were not a civilian source, there would already be pending legal action; Scooter Libby, former assistant to VP Dick Cheney will be the first to attest to that fact. So what happens to civilians when classified information is leaked… thus far, nothing. When classified information is disclosed by sources in the government, the culprits lose their post, and often go to prison. Civilians take full advantage of the uncountable privileges this nation offers them, and are kept safe every day by our military; therefore, if they are responsible for such a security breach, they too ought to be charged, and sentenced to a felony. After all, it is not only their own safety they debasing, but that of all citizens and military personnel alike. “Unlawful publication of information crucial to national security” needs to be passed into law as a felony charge; we can only hope the justice department acts soon. This type of arrogance tip-toes the line of treason. If a military of government source provided enemy combatants with this information, they would certainly be tried for treason. Can we really let irresponsible citizens commit these acts, and face no consequence? If our national security is not secure, our nation and its citizens similarly are also not secure. WikiLeaks must answer, and justice must be done for the American citizens.
2 September, 2011
Posted on September 3, 2011, in Patriotslog Articles, Politics and tagged cables, confidential, David Leigh, information, Julian Assange, national security, press, publish, top secret, treason, WikiLeaks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.