Thursday, August 5, 2010

Here's a Call to Prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks

This article makes a number of excellent points. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has put a lot of lives at risk and made it a lot more difficult to seek peace in the name of some extremist "open-information" ideology. I can't help but lean towards the idea that he is a criminal who should be prosecuted for treason. In what way is what he did NOT treason?
Some choice quotes:
"Most of us in the actual business of secrets know that reports are more often classified because of their source, not their content."
"These documents "prove" that war is grittier when viewed by an infantryman than by a policymaker; that Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, is a difficult partner; that in war innocent civilians sometimes die; and that the Taliban has been growing in strength over the past several years. Not quite "stop the presses" kind of revelations."
"despite WikiLeaks' claim that it had redacted source-identifying information from the military's intelligence reports, it apparently did a half-baked job and real names of real people are being exposed.

Beyond that, even when you effectively mask source-identifying data, the enemy knows who did or who did not know about the historic operation or meeting or rendezvous now being made public in a leaked American document.

I can already see the Taliban or al Qaeda dialogue: "Brother, in whose house did we hold that meeting in 2007?"

"With this release, the enemy now knows about us that which we struggle so hard to learn about him: What we do well and what we do less well, where our thinking is strong and where it is not, where our analysis is incisive and where we have blind spots.

I used to give the graduation address to CIA case officers as they completed their operational training. At every ceremony I would remind them that they would be taking the fate of their future sources into their hands, that in a powerful moral sense, they would be responsible for the well-being of their sources and, very often, their source's families. Without that implied "contract," why would anyone provide information to us?"

What potential sources in Afghanistan will now believe that America can protect them?

Why would anyone in that troubled land bet his family's well-being and future on such a well-intentioned but obviously porous partner, whatever hope or vision for the future this potential source might harbor.

And we will never know who will now not come forward, who will not provide us with life-saving information, who will decide he cannot opt for a common effort against a common enemy. But we can be certain that the cost will be great.

And foreign intelligence services, with whom we have established productive and legitimate partnerships, will ask, "Can I trust the Americans to keep anything secret?"

Finally, I can only imagine what adversary intelligence services worldwide are doing with these documents. If I were the chief of Russia's FSB or China's PLA-2, I would be gathering all of my English-speaking officers and directing them to read all 75,000 documents to learn where the Americans are strong, weak, vulnerable, formidable, to be avoided and to be challenged.

And all of this because of some corrupted view of the inherent evils of the modern state, a pseudo-romantic attachment to the absolute value of transparency, a casual indifference to inevitable consequences and a neurotic attachment to one individual's self importance. Rarely have we seen such a dangerous combination of arrogance and incompetence


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