Hmm, what to link to today…
It will take time to assess the real harm caused by this dump of some 92,000 classified documents into the public domain by Wikileaks. But as I argue this morning, the Obama administration’s warning that there would be damage seems highly credible. It’s hard to fault the New York Times in this instance. After all, this material was going to be published anyway by Wikileaks, which is where responsibility lies.
The larger point one might draw from this episode is that democracies like ours have a vital need for secrecy in the conduct of foreign affairs and war. And Wikileaks, which appears to be beyond the reach of our laws, is engaging in an assault on democratic governance. Our best hope of avoiding future such episodes is to do a better job of protecting secrets. Part of this involves tighter security and harsher penalties for those who leak vital secrets. Another no less important part is tackling our government’s penchant for overclassification and mis-classification, which breeds disrespect for legitimate secrecy and creates a climate in which even leaks of highly sensitive information are taken as a norm. None of this is a satisfactory solution to our problems in this realm. But a satisfactory solution has not yet appeared on the horizon.
Legal Insurrection asks:
How many of the Journolists who object to the release of their e-mails regarding the 2008 presidential campaign will spend the next several days gloating over the publication by WikiLeaks of over 90,000 classified military documents regarding the war in Afghanistan?
And meanwhile many of our soldiers and allies in covert positions have had their covers blown and will likely die as a result. A hanging is called for.
Maybe the ghost of the vaunted FDR will have this guy taken out and summarily shot?