It's government's job to keep real secrets

Monday, November 29, 2010

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.

View 4 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • *

    I think you guys are somewhat on the money here. The thing about this is though, the calls from Washington about this putting lives in peril is simply hogwash. None of the previous leaks have injured anyone.

    I honestly look at it as wiki leaks doing what the media in the US are supposed to do. The founding fathers didn't want the media to become the propaganda arm of the government. They wanted them to inform the people of what was going on so that they in turn could make informed decisions based on the information.

    I would ask Gazette, did you feel the same when the pentagon papers were released? What about the parralells between the governments action on those and the tactics it is using against wiki leaks now?

    One my ask if these recent revelations also need to stay secret? http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/cia-allegedly-implanted-electrodes-brains-uns... You know the government implanting electrodes to control people. Experiments where they gave people lsd without their knowledge ect ect. Do you think the government wants that information to come out?

    -- Posted by Damu on Mon, Nov 29, 2010, at 3:35 PM
  • *

    @OCHO I think you might find that without DADT this probably wouldn't have happened.

    -- Posted by Damu on Mon, Nov 29, 2010, at 9:15 PM
  • *

    I think your right, in fact I think we should remove all white christian males from any public office, not to mention all clergy positions. History has shown us that these are the individuals most likely to abuse their power. By removing them from positions of power we solve everything!

    -- Posted by Damu on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 11:34 AM
  • -- Posted by Damu on Tue, Nov 30, 2010, at 12:23 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: