Monday, November 29, 2010

WikiLeaks Strikes Again

Hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving, ate plenty, slept in, and didn't have their grundle grabbed by TSA. It's back to reality and reality comes, in part, in the form of another WikiLeaks disclosure of classified U.S. documents. The New York Times summarizes some of the juicier tidbits, and attempts to put the documents in context.

I'm not sure what to feel about this disclosure and others WikiLeaks has been a part of. It seems dangerous to me to just release all these documents. I'm confident it's illegal for an employee of the U.S. government to share this documents. I'm confused as to what WikiLeaks hopes to accomplish. Is the release of information the objective? Is it striving for a more open-source society and does the release of these documents help to achieve that goal? I think more transparency is better, but I hesitate to embrace the release because I'm not convinced WikiLeaks fully considers what disclosure of people's names in these documents could mean for them or their families.

After some thinking out loud, let's clarify a couple things:
1) While some of the drama described is juicy, the cables don't really reveal anything we didn't already know. It was largely the same with the previous releases. We get more detail and we get names, but the narrative isn't markedly different.

2) This and the prior releases are not similar to and should not be compared to the release of The Pentagon Papers. Disregard what you hear from Daniel Ellsberg. I think he's bought in to his own mystique too much. Mr. Ellsberg did a public service by leaking a study of U.S. involvement in Vietnam over the course of several decades. It was a document vetted and edited to provide a full picture and not simply bits of chatter with people's names in it.

Again, I still don't know what to make of WikiLeaks and its disclosure of confidential U.S. documents, but I think it's clear the disclosure is not an act of heroism.

1 comment:

Nick said...

hahahahha i did manage to avoid the grundle grab, thanks

-nick c