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It's government's job to keep real secrets
We tried logging on to WikiLeaks' website this morning, but weren't able to, probably because a massive denial-of-service attack -- conducted by the U.S. government? -- if not simply because the site was being overwhelmed because of the breaking story.
The whistle-blower site's latest release is of some 251,287 documents detailing correspondence between the U.S. State Department and U.S. embassies around the world. It included 100,000 documents labeled "confidential" and 15,000 labeled "secret," but none marked "top secret."
A U.S. soldier has been charged with unauthorized downloads of classified material while he was stationed in Iraq, and at the time of his arrest last summer, the State Department and embassy personnel were concerned that he had leaked diplomatic cables.
One can only shudder to imagine what would have happened had a similar leak occurred during, say, the Cuban missile crisis. World War II was won in part because of the United States' cracking of Japan's codes, for example, as well as the U.S. media's willingness to self-censor sensitive material.
The leaks couldn't have come at a worse time for our government's efforts to deal with situations like North Korea's attacks on the south and growing nuclear capabilities in both North Korea and Iran. Who knows what those two country's unstable leaders might do in face of the leaked dispatches? Iran's Arab neighbors, for example, seem to be urging the United States to launch an attack.
The founding fathers never could have imagined the impact of the Internet when they established freedom of speech. Still, we should not allow the current WikiLeaks flap to further erode that right.
Diplomats and Washington must be able to speak freely, and not tip their hands, especially while involved in sensitive negotiations.
Too often, however, documents are declared secret only for political reasons, to avoid embarrassment or cover up wrongdoing.
In the end, it's the government's duty to make sure information that truly needs to be kept secret remains that way, and release the rest.