Unambiguous cold opening: Wikileaks is a threat to American intelligence operations and diplomatic relations, and is thus a threat to American national security. It is also a threat to Americans’ personal privacy.
Do not believe me? Let us lay out the evidence. Exhibit A is the recent so-called “Vault 7” release of roughly 9,000 alleged CIA cyber intelligence documents and files by the website. Exhibit B is the trove of information stolen by Private Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, nearly three-quarters of a million classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents. Exhibit C is the targeting of and release (by Wikileaks) of personal email information, including that of Democratic National Committee (DNC) members’ personal emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Now, I could personally care less who you supported in the last presidential election, or whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, or what your political sensibilities might be. If you support a Wikileaks release of hacked, stolen, or leaked information, however, just because it suits your political agenda, then you are a hypocritical fool who has no compunction about endorsing an attack on American security and Americans’ privacy if it suits your agenda.
Let that marinate on your conscience for a few minutes.
As I wrote previously, it was mainly Republicans who shamelessly embraced Wikileaks in the 2016 presidential election because it suited them politically to do so.
Take President Donald Trump, whose feelings about the site have veered from love to hate depending on whether or not an info dump helped or hurt his own personal agenda. The most damning comment was on October 10, 2016, at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, when the then-presidential candidate glibly proclaimed, “I love Wikileaks.”
He is not the only one. Right-wing radio host and Fox News commentator Sean Hannity also proclaimed in a tweet that Wikileaks had not been wrong in ten years, and claimed that it had done the United States a “great service” by publishing hacked emails, documents, and files. Presumably, he was happy because the site was attacking Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
Then there is Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan, who tweeted “Thank God for Wikileaks” for doing the job the mainstream media will not, which is presumably stealing the personal correspondence of Republican political enemies. Again, politics trumps Americans’ personal privacy for this congressman, too.
Wikileaks is no friend of your personal privacy. The site has released personal email details about American citizens, including Democrat John Podesta and Republican Sarah Palin. In a hilarious bit of shameless hypocrisy, Palin first called out Assange for publishing her hacked information, and then later apologized to him when he presumably pleased her by publishing the stolen DNC files and emails.
You cannot make this stuff up.
Wikileaks is no friend of your country, if you are an American. Nor is it a friend of American national security. Ask yourself, why don’t they leak Russian government documents in the name of press freedom or Russian personal privacy?
No, really, why?
Because the site is at best populated by self-aggrandizing, self-appointed “watchdogs” of what is right and just (which is anything that slings arrows at the U.S. government, apparently). At worst, the site is a tool of a foreign intelligence agency (or agencies) bent on taking jabs at America. My money is on a combination of both.
I do not buy the sanctimonious bullshit Julian Assange and others spew about sparking a debate in America about privacy and national security. Spare me. If that were the end goal, then the site would also aggressively target Russia and other regimes. Wikileaks is in it for one reason: to falsely nominate themselves as martyrs for personal privacy while in actuality acting as partisans in a fight against American power.
So what should the American government do about it? Is it time to shut down the site?
That solution might not be as effective as it seems at first glance. Sure, shutting down the site through a cyber assault might take Wikileaks offline — though probably not permanently — but it does not solve the problem of stopping the leaks and the publication of the leaks. That would no doubt continue unabated on different sites and servers.
Fundamentally, the “Wikileaks problem” is one of the leakers themselves. If there was nothing to publish, then such sites would be harmless. With that said, the U.S. government should then continue its crackdown on those that would take it upon themselves to leak classified information.
If you steal millions of classified documents, then you should suffer the consequences. There should be harsh punishments for those like Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and others who steal this data. And that goes for anyone found guilty of illegally leaking, no matter what the reason, classified information.
If you break into the personal and private correspondence of American citizens, furthermore, then you should face the legal ramifications of doing so. No one should endorse that kind of privacy violation, no matter how much the ends appear to justify the means.
If, as a matter of conscience, you disagree with something being done by the U.S. government, then you must use the proper whistleblower channels, or go to your Congressman or Senator, to report such perceived abuses. Do something, yes. Just do not break the law and release classified information. That should buy you jail time, every time.
As far as shutting down Wikileaks…It might not be a permanent solution, but it sure would feel pretty good. I say go for it. Then shut down the next similar site after that, and the next one after that. We should at least make it more difficult to publish this information, for the good of America and its citizens.
Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Robert L. Lang
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