Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Leaky, Leaky

Despite the high drama in the media about wikileaks latest disgorging, I don't see why the content is such a big deal. Most of what I've heard about so far seems rather typical and mundane. Of course people call world leaders names in cables. These are like private letters.

I think this event, and those to come raise several questions:
1) Who really did the leaking, and what was the real motivation or agenda?
2) What does this continued data dumping mean for governments trying to conduct private business?\
3) The 24 hour news cycle plays a serious role in the inability of government to function. It is partly responsible for the growing polarization we see among our political leaders, so how does such open and easy technology contribute to this?
4) How much can you disable technology, such as deactivating USB ports as the DoD has done, without paralyzing the functions of government?

I don't see think it is fair to compare this to the Pentagon Papers. That was the leaking of a specific report about a specific issue and it was done out of concern for the public good. This was indiscriminate and done to prove it could be done. The public good be damned.

What do the Citizen's think?


Raised By Republicans said...

Most of it is rather innocuous but I've read about some things that could be substantively interesting. For example, the leaking of private communications from China about how annoyed they are with North Korea. These leaks undermine both China's preferred image of itself as the defender of national sovereignty and the popular image of China on the American right as irresponsible revisionist state. The tone of the Chinese (private) remarks about North Korea were paternalistic in the extreme. And were not nearly as protective of North Korea as the American right would expect.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Wilileaks is being gulled by an elaborate shell game.

There has not been a single instance, that I am aware of, that a single leak has caused any significant problem.

The information that I read show that these leaks have been carefully checked before their release.

I believe that the "intelligence" community is totally responsible for the leaks and that Bradley Manning is a patsy.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I just think this is incompetence, not a conspiracy. And most of what is released is pretty mundane, as USWest says. The state department needs to get its act together and ratchet up secrecy protection on its diplomatic correspondence. It also needs to not "classify" every document in sight.

USWest said...

Was it State that screwed up? Or was it the Army? My understanding is that those cables were on a shared database with the DOD and that this was done as part of the larger info sharing implemented after 9/11.

I don't know much about Mr. Manning other than he was mistreated in the military because he was openly gay and that he was an "analyst". What that means is that he was supposed to be a linguist, but failed to meet the minimum criteria or it means he failed out of his language courses. The army makes a habit of "recouping" its lost investment by turning these guys into "analysts". That said, he shouldn't have had access to that stuff as a PFC and I'd be surprised if it was him alone.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I don't know who made the mistake, but I do know that State has its own resposnbility to protect its own secrets.

Anonymous said...

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Thanks for sharing this link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


Dr. Strangelove said...

I think USWest may be jumping to conclusions regarding Manning's training and access. Most Air Force and Marine intelligence analysts are not and never tried to become linguists--and I have no reason to believe the Army should be any different. And the clearance he is alleged to have misused is typical for servicemen with that rank and specialty.

As USWest suggests, there is little that any branch of the military, or any government agency, can do to increase the security of their computer networks without impairing their ability to use them. The balance is difficult to strike, and if anything, I suspect they already err too far on the side of security. In the end, the security of classified data always depends on the trustworthiness of those who are authorized to access it.

Regardless of the extent of the damage that may have been done, if Manning deliberately gave this information to Wikileaks, then he did not merely leak information to a website--he committed treason, punishable by death. For his sake, I hope Manning has a very good lawyer.

Raised By Republicans said...

Hey Dr. Strangelove,

Yes, I hope he has a good lawyer too.

RE: The leaks themselves... I heard an interesting discussion about them on NPR the other day. The guest on the show was saying that the leaks actually show the high quality of US diplomacy. He said, "We see them doing exactly what they say they are doing. There is no hidden agenda, and they are working to resolve the most serious problems." That's good. It shows countries that the signals the US government sends via diplomatic channels are credible. That's not true for every government out there. Granted, most governments don't need Wikileaks to figure that out. But it would be good for most US voters to hear this sort of thing - to the extent foreign policy is an important issue for them.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I think RbR has hit on something important. Sure, the documents show a few snarky comments, but otherwise they show that we are in fact doing what we say we are doing. It would be interesting if, in the long run, these leaks end up helping US diplomacy...!