WikiLeaks: Modern Muckraker or Treasonous Tattler

WikiLeaks is a small but apparently potent online source of national and international (government as well as corporate) information the titans would rather keep from public view.

Good for WikiLeaks.

In a Secret report released by (you guess it) Wikileaks, the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center stated the content-driven Web site is a threat to the security of Army information and operations.

According to the report, “The intentional or unintentional leaking and posting of U.S. Army sensitive or classified information to could result in increased threats to DoD personnel, equipment, facilities, or installations.” (As can an IED.)

More pointedly, the 2008 report charged, “The leakage of sensitive and classified DoD information also calls attention to the insider threat, when a person or persons motivated by a particular cause or issue wittingly provides information to domestic or foreign personnel or organizations to be published by the news media or on the Internet.”

If there is cause for concern, it may be the whistleblowers from within that cause panic in the corner offices of many an organization. That said, is it not better to leak with the open WikiLeaks than another entity?

WikiLeaks’ stated purpose is to expose corruption. It does not screen submissions. Anyone can post to the site, and there is no verification of accuracy. Do site organizers bear further responsibility? One judge cited free speech when he ruled in the site’s favor in a case where Swiss bankers challenged the posting of sensitive materials.

The Army’s 34-page reports further states, “Recent unauthorized release of DoD sensitive and classified documents provide … foreign terrorist groups, insurgents, and other foreign adversaries with potentially actionable information for targeting U.S. forces.”

Speaking of the classification system, organizations seem to be classification happy and rush to slap a shiny “Secret” or “FOUO” (For Official Use Only) sticker on just about anything. Our guess is leakers may deem a classification unjustified and see the information as appropriate for public consumption but benign in the national security realm.

WikilLeaks seems to have its supporters, including the Associated Press, Gannett Corporation (which includes our friends at Army Times Publishing Company) , Hearst Corporation , the Los Angeles Times, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Project on Government Oversight.

Our guess is DoD will monitor these modern muckrakers, but there is little it can do outside the palace walls.

Recent Posts