Wikileaks Goes After the US State Department
Previously published on Dec 1, 2010
Wikileaks has grabbed headlines throughout 2010 with its massive historic dumps of thousands upon thousands of secure US documents. While it first angered top Pentagon Officials when it released barely outdated, yet potentially sensitive field reports from Afghanistan and Iraq among other classified materials at the end of summer, Wikileaks has moved onto the US State Department. This time around, however, the whistleblower site may well have undermined the Obama Administration and US diplomatic efforts in far more detrimental ways than it or the world is willing to recognize.
On the one hand, thanks to Wikileaks much has either been learned or confirmed. Among the most important revelations, Chinese cyber attacks on the US might now garner enough political attention for the populous to push for a serious attempt to actually secure and properly regulate the internet. Though it may create tensions between the Middle Eastern states, Saudi Arabia's push for the US to attack Iran and the concerns of many Arab states in regards to Iran's nuclear policy, might also help improve relations with key Middle East players. Finally, it is especially significant to learn the US government knows North Korea sold weapons to Iran. Such transparency can actually be quite healthy when it comes to building consensus on foreign policy issues.
On the other hand, leaked State Department cables included candid, private conversations among US officials as well as with foreign diplomats. Particularly offensive are the many personal assessments of foreign diplomats and leaders. Diplomacy is like a poker game where players must both acquire the right cards and read the other players correctly. Assessing the personal strengths and faults of foreign officials is an essential, yet a potentially ugly process. Not only has Wikileaks shown the world America's hand, it has undermined the polite faÃ§ade officials need to engage each other without public displays of discord and personal rivalry.
Wikileaks was created to be a facilitator of transparently and government accountability, thereby leveling the playing field in terms of encouraging proper governance by the People. As such, Wikileaks does not seek to filter, analyze, or skew data; however, Wikileaks latest tendency to target US intelligence is turning the site into a disruptive anti-American movement. After all, these leaks do not just affect the American people; they affect the whole balance of power in the International Community. The US may be the most powerful nation in the world, thus making its actions important to all, but it must play by international rules and Wikileaks' biased attacks on US intelligence give other nations greater leverage. To play its proper objective role, Wikileaks must crack other nation's intelligence in such large quantities.
Certainly, Wikileaks has made concessions to its free information philosophy by working with professional journalists to verify sources and assess what might consequences might ensue after a data dump. Unfortunately, Wikileaks appears to have adopted a glance over strategy where secure documents cannot be properly and fully analyzed. With too much focus on American intelligence, Wikileaks ultimately risks becoming a solely puppet for those who wish to undermine US power and interests while it will soon lose its capacity to create transparency for the entire International Community and certify the authenticity of its documentation. Consequently, Wikileaks must stay true to its core concept by more evenly obtaining and dumping data from other countries, especially countries where government secrecy is an absolute.