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WikiLeaks 'a Clear and Present Danger,' Says WaPo

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the rhetoric-reaching-critical-levels dept.

Government 837

bedmison writes "In an op-ed in the Washington Post titled 'WikiLeaks must be stopped,' Marc A. Thiessen writes that 'WikiLeaks represents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States,' and that the US has the authority to arrest its spokesman, Julian Assange, even if it has to contravene international law to do so. Thiessen also suggests that the new USCYBERCOM be unleashed to destroy WikiLeaks as an internet presence." Reader praps tips an interview with another WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt, who says they have no regrets about releasing the Afghanistan documents, and says WikiLeaks is "changing the game." Several other readers have pointed out that WikiLeaks posted a mysterious, encrypted "insurance" file on Thursday, which sent the media into a speculative frenzy over what it could possibly contain.

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The Washington Post.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115230)

So apparently The Washington Post presents a clear and present danger to public freedom and the accountability of government and industry.

Re:The Washington Post.... (2, Insightful)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115334)

Actually, anything that exposes what the WaPost has missed or completely mischaracterized is a clear and present danger...

Re:The Washington Post.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115470)

So apparently The Washington Post presents a clear and present danger to public freedom and the accountability of government and industry.

My thoughts exactly.

Along with "How much of a pain in the ass is it going to be to cancel my subscription?" and "How angry an email can I send without being put on some sort of watch list?"

disappointed? offended? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115486)

The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel got the documents in advance. Washington Post didn't. I'm going to take a big leap and say that reporters of those newspapers might have a slightly more positive attitude towards WikiLeaks than other reporters, including WaPo (even though in theory they shouldn't).

Re:The Washington Post.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115524)

No, not necessarily. It was an Op Ed. Anyone can write an Op Ed and submit it to popular newspapers to be published, including you and the people who marked you insightful. Politicians submit Op Eds to newspapers regularly. So, do journalists on occasion, but that's why it's in the Op Ed section and not the news section.

Re:The Washington Post.... (5, Informative)

wemmick (22057) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115728)

Yes, mod up this AC.

Thiessen worked for George W. Bush, Jesse Helms, and Donald Rumsfeld. He's a well-regarded pundit and speechwriter in conservative circles.

His writings do not represent the editorial board of the Washington Post. The Post publishes columns by Thiessen so that they can represent different shades of the political spectrum.

Re:The Washington Post.... (5, Insightful)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115648)

So apparently The Washington Post presents a clear and present danger to public freedom and the accountability of government and industry.

Keep in mind that this is an Op-Ed... NOT to be confused with a staff editorial.

Mr. Thiessen's writing doesn't represent the WaPo directly. Only in their decision to run the article are they involved.

In other words, don't think the WaPo is defending their bottom line, attacking accountability, etc. They have a pretty solid reputation for fighting for transparency.

Re:The Washington Post.... (2, Insightful)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115750)

So apparently The Washington Post presents a clear and present danger to public freedom and the accountability of government and industry.

No just the writer - who has also wrote hack-pieces supporting the birthers and other wingnuts, but that's not surprising for a Bush speechwriter.

But hey - give him credibility here on Slashdot - it makes for good click-thru and ROI.

Think he'd hold FOX accountable for all the shootings attributable to them lately? - No of course he won't.

Re:The Washington Post.... (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115758)

So apparently The Washington Post presents a clear and present danger to public freedom and the accountability of government and industry.

If I'd have to choose between WaPo and Wikileaks, I'd keep Wikileaks. It's too easy to hide bad news under the classified mantle. We're paying the bills, we deserve the unvarnished truth about where things stand in Asscrapistan classified or not.

And they should know (5, Interesting)

vm146j2 (233075) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115232)

They could only publish it if they were getting the acceptable, authorized leaks which told them so.

I love it (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115234)

I love that an organization is a danger because it reveals coverups and secrets to ordinary citizens.

"But Pojut, our enemies will use this information against us!"

Well then maybe we shouldn't be doing it in the first place. Doy.

Re:I love it (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115330)

The danger is not revealing cover-ups. The danger is some of the ancillary information also revealed.

I feel that wikileaks is a Good Thing; but I also acknowledge that there are some things that serve no purpose being released, and that put individuals in danger for no benefit.

Responsible disclosure may be too much to ask for -- but I wish that dangerous information was redacted, unless there was some clear benefit to that information becoming public.

I guess that would run counter to what wikileaks is all about... and it's a shame, because without responsible disclosure, wikileaks will, in effect, be shut down by the PTB.

Re:I love it (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115498)

I also acknowledge that there are some things that serve no purpose being released, and that put individuals in danger for no benefit.

Humorously, if an American soldier dies for nothing, maybe for oil, or maybe just to profit the military industrial complex, they describe it as "he died to save our freedoms" and other assorted BS.

On the other hand, if an American soldier dies because of our actual freedoms, such as freedom of speech, well, thats a clear and present danger, etc, etc, bs bs bs.

Re:I love it (2, Informative)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115738)

It's not just American soldiers who were put in danger. Afghan civilians (and their families) who cooperated with us were also put in danger.

I know they tried to completely purge names, but they weren't very successful at it or maybe they just didn't care. What's a few Afghan families if wikileaks can make the U.S. look bad?

What about the insurance file? (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115514)

According to The Register, there is a huge encrypted file [theregister.co.uk] up on wikileaks now, called 'insurance.' The US goes after wikileaks or Julian Assange, the key to that file goes out to the world. And according to Assange, everything dangerous was redacted out of the Afghanistan documents. Cryptome's John Young speculates that the 'insurance' file contains all the redacted bits.

Re:What about the insurance file? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115752)

According to The Register, there is a huge encrypted file [theregister.co.uk] up on wikileaks now, called 'insurance.' The US goes after wikileaks or Julian Assange, the key to that file goes out to the world. And according to Assange, everything dangerous was redacted out of the Afghanistan documents. Cryptome's John Young speculates that the 'insurance' file contains all the redacted bits.

Ah, like the redacted bits involving the names of informants and other such things that, if they got out, would cause irreparable harm without doing a single bit of good? Meaning, if at some point Assange doesn't get his way, he threatens to blackmail the war efforts? I mean, the data Wikileaks already gave shows current military failures and could be construed as dangerous to a wide, faceless entity and effort, but as an act of vengeance, he's willing to knowingly and directly put named individuals in mortal danger and ruin trust built up by putting up data which had a very fair assumption that it would be kept secret?

So what you're saying is Assange isn't some hero. He's not some revolutionary or the new messiah or something. He's not even a troll, aiming to get a rise out of the government. He's an immature, blackmailing asshole who's willing to send people to death to prove whatever point he's trying to make.

I'm impressed. We found someone worse than Zuckerberg. At least Zucky doesn't hold peoples' lives at stake for teh lulz. Thanks. You've showed me what sort of a brat this guy really is.

Re:I love it (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115614)

Apparently in that last big leak they did withhold or redact some of the most obviously sensitive-but-not-scandalous information.

I Do Not Love It (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115414)

Well then maybe we shouldn't be doing it in the first place. Doy.

As long as bad people exist, you will always need to keep certain information secured. Whether you're a government or a citizen. How would you respond if Wikileaks put up your credit card information, bank account numbers, social security number and all your known residences and acquaintances?

I'm not implying that our current scenario is as cut and dried as World War II but how would you react if Wikileaks had been broadcasting over a magical radio station that blanketed the Earth the location of allied forces in 1942? Would you so callously respond that "maybe the Allies shouldn't be doing that in the first place?"

Yes, as an American, I am concerned about the people fighting for my country abroad. I'm not concerned one bit about the politicians and generals, it's the grunts and people out in the field that could suffer from this. And most of all the people helping those forces by giving them intelligence. War is not a cover-up. It has necessary secrets. It has since Roman times and it will continue to as long as humans exist. You know the names and locations of people informing American forces about where the Taliban are needs to be classified. At this point it's not even using this information against me sitting at home in comfort but about the people in Afghanistan and their safety.

Re:I Do Not Love It (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115774)

Churchill's Ultra Secret was a bad idea anyways. We should have just told the Germans to change their ciphers so all those chaps at Bletchley could go home and have a proper rest.

Secrets and the obvious (0, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115436)

If you don't feel revealing your secrets is dangerous ... may I ask you a simple question :

What's the way to log in to your bank account ? Mail account ? Social security number ? Surely revealing secrets can't hurt you, right ?

This just to establish the obvious - that some secrets are secret for a reason. And obviously, interactions with informants on an enemy that kills without regard to human rights, or even basic decency, are secret. You'd have to be fucking desperate to see the "muslim students" (translation into a language nobody here understands : "taliban") as victims. At the very best these people are a maffia shooting from behind children. At worst, they're genocidal maniaks that need to be eradicated before they start again (murdered half Kabul when they left it, in addition to several religious genocides, and that's just in the last 10 years).

Re:Secrets and the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115672)

And obviously, interactions with informants on an enemy that kills without regard to human rights, or even basic decency, are secret.

Bradley Manning [nytimes.com] would have to disagree with you. He should be pulled out of the brig and given a medal.

--Ethanol-fueled

Arrest WHO? (4, Informative)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115236)

Julian? Sure, he's the face of WL, but that would not stop the signal.

Re:Arrest WHO? (3, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115410)

Mr Universe, is that you?

Re:Arrest WHO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115574)

THEY CAN'T STOP THE SIGNAL! (watch as we find out that we created the Taliban and other groups that want to hurt is... wait... we did? DOH!)

ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115250)

It comes from the Washington Post. What would Woodward and Bernstein have to say about this?

It's really the other way around... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115262)

'The US Government is a Clear and Present Danger' says US Citizens

Re:It's really the other way around... (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115646)

'The US Government is a Clear and Present Danger' says US Citizens

Yes, they do. [cnsnews.com]

too late (3, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115270)

the cat is out of the bag, even if they killed wikileaks the information they posted is most likely on other people's computers already and it would be a trivial task to setup another server somewhere else with that same info or the very least seed some torrents of it all at various bittorrent sites.

Re:too late (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115316)

I think it's safe to say that they're more concerned about what Wikileaks will publish in the future. This isn't about putting the cat back into the bag, but about prior restraint of future publication.

Re:too late (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115376)

still the same issue, they could kill everyone involved with wikileaks and i am sure somebody else in the future will leak information if they feel the public needs to know about it, and i am sure the lessons of wikileaks will just force them to do it anonymously, (plenty of open wifi APs would make that really easy)

Re:too late (4, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115422)

Hence the insurance file. Presumably that encrypted file would contain information that the government would want to remain secret more than they would want wikileaks in general silenced.

Re:too late (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115710)

Hence the insurance file. Presumably that encrypted file would contain information that the government would want to remain secret more than they would want wikileaks in general silenced.

If so, that seems to go against the ideals of wikileaks as I understand them. These are the guys who were willing to publish their own leaked donor-list - a clear risk to future donations and thus the existence of wikileaks itself. Holding some documents back to attempt to insure their continued existence seems be in conflict with the reasoning behind the publication their donor list and thus a step down from the high moral ground.

Re:too late (4, Funny)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115764)

Presumably that encrypted file would contain information that the government would want to remain secret more than they would want wikileaks in general silenced.

So obviously the file must contain highly sensitive copyrighted works like the music for next year's Disney pop star lineup. The economic damage from piracy of that magnitude could destroy the world economy 300 times over.

Brilliant move on Wikileak's part. Who in the US government will care about our minor military secrets when the RIAA's profits are at risk?

Re:too late (5, Interesting)

Inzite (472846) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115722)

This is neither about putting the cat back into the bag nor about preventing future leaks. This is about responding by doing something , regardless of whether or not that something that must be done is justified, legal, pragmatic, ethical, or effective.

Reacting has become the solitary goal of politicians...to take some kind of action when their constituents feel threatened, regardless of whether that action is appropriate, or if there even exists any action whatsoever is appropriate.

Cases in point:
The TSA
The War on Terrorism
Warrantless Wiretapping
The War on Drugs
MADD
Felony Time for Personal Drug Use
Religion
The Pledge of Allegiance
The Witchhunt to Determine Who Killed Michael Jackson
Laws Banning Assisted Suicide
Censorship of (insert media here)
Laws Against Flag Burning
The RIAA
The MPAA
etc.
etc.
etc.

It's a tragedy of this fully-padded, 100% sterilized, risk-free, instant-gratification, 24/7-connected dreamworld that we are increasingly inhabiting that there has to be an immediate cure for every evil. People no longer accept that sometimes the best action is no action at all.

a clear and prersent danger (5, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115284)

....and that the US has the authority to arrest its spokesman, Julian Assange, even if it has to contravene international law to do so.

Sounds to me more like the United States is the clear and present danger. Particularly when they claim an authority and yet admit a conflict with international law.

Re:a clear and prersent danger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115384)

I'm far more scared of the us goverment than any imaginary terrorist using info off the net to 'hurt' me.

The goverment is just scared the rest of the world will find out they've been doing worse stuff than any 3rd world dictator.

Re:a clear and prersent danger (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115418)

> Sounds to me more like the United States is the clear and present danger. Particularly when they claim an authority and yet admit a conflict with international law.

To be fair, the United States didn't do that. A journalist based in the US published his opinion in a US based newspaper.

Re:a clear and prersent danger (1)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115656)

Mod up. Not for the author, but for the content.

Re:a clear and prersent danger (1)

LordGr8one (1174233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115476)

And what force does international law have behind it? The idea that it exists by itself, independently of the power granted it by the consent of its signatories, is beyond laughable. No country is going to submit to international law if it perceives that submission as contrary to its interests.

Re:a clear and prersent danger (3, Insightful)

radish (98371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115604)

And what force does a law have behind it? The idea that it exists by itself, independently of the power granted it by the consent of its citizens, is beyond laughable. No person is going to submit to a law if it perceives that submission as contrary to its interests.

Re:a clear and prersent danger (0, Troll)

LordGr8one (1174233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115726)

I see what you did there. Your logic break down at a couple of points, though. First, you assume an equivalence between nations and an individual citizen where none exists. Individual citizens have rights. Governments do not. Second, when those individual citizens consent to form a government and police force, that force is not beholden to any one private citizen. There are citizens who are not cops. When nations agree to international law, they are expected to uphold it themselves; they're supposed to be their own cops, in other words. There are no nations designated as "cops."

srsly govt? (1)

Vorpix (60341) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115288)

haven't you seen star wars? if you strike him down, he will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

it's not such a bad thing for the government to *gasp* be held accountable.

Re:srsly govt? (5, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115362)

haven't you seen star wars? if you strike him down, he will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

Dude, Julian Assange is not a Jedi. He won't come back as a ghost after death to advise Luke. If you strike him down, he'll be dead.

And, sure, martyrs can have a power to move opinion that living people lack, but I'm not convinced this is one of those situations.

Re:srsly govt? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115426)

I hope you're happy with yourself. Some slashdotter just made a Star Wars reference and you come in snatching him back to reality. I bet you go around telling kids there's no Santa too.

Re:srsly govt? (2, Funny)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115594)

Somehow, leaking the uncomfortable truth sounds so unglamorous when you put it that way.

Re:srsly govt? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115454)

Familiar with whack-a-mole? Killing a person =! killing the goal

Re:srsly govt? (1)

Nimloth (704789) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115518)

-1, burst my bubble

please oh please (1, Funny)

anthonyclark (17109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115302)

please let the insurance file be the result of "dd if=/dev/urandom ..."

Re:please oh please (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115382)

Maybe someone forgot the password to their truecrypt volume.

Re:please oh please (5, Insightful)

bieber (998013) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115602)

Eh, my guess is that if it really is an "insurance" file, then someone involved in whatever department the files pertain to has already received the key, decrypted it, and knows exactly what it is. After all, if you really want to blackmail someone, you don't benefit from keeping the information secret from the person you're trying to blackmail. "I have 1.4GB of very sensitive information but I won't tell you what it is" isn't going to be particularly persuasive when you're trying to stop someone from coming after you. On the other hand, "I have 1.4GB of very sensitive information, it's already on thousands or millions of people's computers, and here's the key so you can see what it really is" carries an awful lot of weight if it's really something you don't want people to see. And the beauty of posting it in encrypted form is that if whoever holds this particular insurance policy decides to call it into effect, the US government has to prevent not the dissemination of a 1.4GB file (which would be nigh-well impossible anyways) but a 256 bit key, and we've all seen how well trying to stop people from sharing a single hexadecimal string worked out for the HD-DVD folks ;) Of course, there's also the danger that the public could get together and crack your key with distributed computing, and then you lose your leverage...

Haha (1)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115310)

Hahah, the poetic justice of this whole WikiLeaks vs US situation is so entertaining and euphoric.

Summary is Wrong (5, Informative)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115332)

This wasn't the Washington Post saying this, it was a columnist who writes a weekly column for the Post. Saying that the Post says this is like attributing George Will's tirades to the Post. The Post publishes opeds from all over the political spectrum that may or may not reflect the editorial stance of the Post. Thiessen is a right-winger from the American Enterprise Institute. If you want to get pissed at someone, get pissed at the AEI, not the Post.

Re:Summary is Wrong (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115608)

Horse shit. Their ink, their paper, their website, their responsibility.

It's all well and good to play both sides of the political theater, but ultimately anything they choose to print is endorsed by the entire organization, two line legal blurb or no.

Re:Summary is Wrong (2, Funny)

SpongeBob Hitler (1848328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115632)

Thiessen is a right-winger from the American Enterprise Institute

And here I was, thinking it was some kind of Star Trek fandom institute in the US.

Well obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115344)

A "clear a present danger" means we should invade Wikileaks and occupy it for the next decade!

Maybe I'm missing something, but... (2, Interesting)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115354)

One of the major complaints by the gov't was that some of the Afghan informers that were named will now be Taliban targets. Seems an easy way to flush out more Talibs...just set up surveillance on the informers, and wait for the rats to find their way to the cheese...

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (3, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115402)

One of the major complaints by the gov't was that some of the Afghan informers that were named will now be Taliban targets. Seems an easy way to flush out more Talibs...just set up surveillance on the informers, and wait for the rats to find their way to the cheese...

And yet (without taking a position for/against this leak in specific or WikiLeaks in general), if I'm an Afghan considering becoming an informer, that's sure going to make me think twice about it, especially if I have a family.

Trapping rats is great and all, until someone makes you the cheese without your consent.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (2, Interesting)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115472)

Nor was I taking a position on the morality of the leaks, just positing one way to make lemonade after the lemons fell off the truck.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115596)

if I'm an Afghan considering becoming an informer, that's sure going to make me think twice about it, especially if I have a family.

Isn't the death rate already well over 100% due to them killing suspected informers whom aren't informers?

Its very much like a slashdot story from earlier today, where elderly people should not be allowed to live near Chernobyl because they'll get cancer in 75 years from the radiation, which would be a real bummer if you make it to 160 years old and then living in Chernobyl back in the 00s kills you.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115674)

Isn't the death rate already well over 100% due to them killing suspected informers whom aren't informers?

You're looking at the math from the wrong end.

If I'm a potential informant, one of my probable goals is not to reduce the death rates of informants overall; it is to reduce the death rates of specifically me.

Regardless of how often the Taliban murders false positives, if my name has a good chance of being leaked to the world if I inform, my risk goes up a lot if I inform.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115442)

That sounds like a great idea as long as you're not the cheese.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115482)

If they go about it crudely, then yeah. HOWEVER, a well placed sniper with a specific target when you have no idea when or where they're going to attack, is very difficult to catch.

Wikileaks is annoying... (5, Insightful)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115356)

...but Marc Thiessen is downright scary. Secret indictments. Grabbing foreign citizens in other countries against local laws and extradition treaties. Are you kidding, Marc? Want to bring back the Alien and Sedition Acts while you're at it?

I'm not sure that a regime where stuff like this happens is really worth protecting in the name of "national security".

Clear and present danger? (2, Funny)

gearsmithy (1869466) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115358)

Sounds like a job for CIA Analyst Jack Ryan.

Re:Clear and present danger? (1)

RCGodward (1235102) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115468)

Sounds like a job for Jack Bauer.

Re:Clear and present danger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115546)

What I learned from that movie... Don't volunteer for anything and make sure you are banging your secretary so she doesn't hook up with cartel intelligence officers.

Clear and Present Danger... (5, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115360)

... to the mainstream media who are more interested in printing out press releases than going out and finding news.

Snowball's chance in hell... (1, Funny)

TheMidnight (1055796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115370)

that the U.S. would actually "arrest" this guy. If we have laws that keep us from assassinating leaders of countries we don't like, such as Fidel Castro, Kim Song Il, and so on, I seriously doubt we would have the legal authority to arrest a non-political person (i.e. private citizen) that has no ties to the U.S. whatsoever. I don't think the U.S. would try to do it, either, even under Bush. If the guy was dumb enough to wander into Iraq or Afghanistan maybe we'd have some ground to classify him as an enemy combatant or something. This op-ed is ridiculous, though. Even if he were brought to the U.S. by some covert operation, how long before a U.S. judge ruled everything they did illegal and make them let him go?

Re:Snowball's chance in hell... (2, Interesting)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115502)

He he -- you're funny.

One could argue that the reason why leaders like Fidel Castor and Kim Song Il aren't assassinated or gotten rid of in some way is because they help, indirectly, to give the Military Industrial Complex a reason to exist.

But that would be just crazy, and I certainly wouldn't try and espouse it.

Re:Snowball's chance in hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115666)

As I understand it, the "real" (for varying values of "real") reason the US doesn't assassinate such people (Castro, Kim...) is that then POTUS becomes a legitimate target.

Sort of a MAD on an individual level.

Posting AC for the obvious reasons.

Re:Snowball's chance in hell... (2, Informative)

richardellisjr (584919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115706)

Ever hear of Manuel Noriega and Panama?

The Definition of Propaganda. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115380)

One sentence from the article.

"Its reason for existence is to obtain classified national security information and disseminate it as widely as possible -- including to the United States' enemies."

Not only was a Washington times writer unable to grasp grammar, but also unable to fully research their story. Or maybe they just don't want to honestly present information because they're part of the big 5 media monopoly in the states (Ben Bagdikian; google it).

They make every governments activities known to everyone, in a nutshell. Similar to The Memory Hole back in the day.

US government won't be able to do shit IMO.

The danger doesn't come from talking.... (5, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115386)

The clear and present danger doesn't come from *talking* about the actions of the American government, but from the actions themselves.

Newspapers didn't aid the Northern Vietnamese when they published the Pentagon Papers, but instead the Government and Military hurt the America with their secretive and malicious actions in Southeast Asia.

Just the same, releasing more information about the military actions in Afghanistan (especially after taking all possible precautions to prevent harm before release) does not cause injury to the US. It's the actions the US is ashamed to talk about that cause the harm.

Erm... (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115388)

"and that the US has the authority to arrest its spokesman, Julian Assange, even if it has to contravene international law to do so"

Interesting interpretation of "international law" and America's opinion of it. No wonder the world hates the US.

clear and present danger to police state (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115390)

Am I the only one who is getting really nervous about all the gov't secrecy (and the general acceptance of it)?

Good luck with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115398)

Best of luck cybering your way through the tubes, Cybercom.

Nut Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115406)

The more information that is available to the public the more good it will cause. Some folks might get hurt in the process but that's a cost of freedom. US Constitution hasn't been violated.

Gasp an Op-Ed (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115430)

Some guy got to rant his opinion on a popular newspaper. So what does that mean... Not much... That is a neat thing about our government people have the rights to express their opinion however there is a process that goes on before action is takes on his opinion if at all.

The first line is intentionally misleading, (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115438)

Therefore the entire article is suspect. (from a logical view point)

While technically correct that wikileaks disseminates american classified information, it also disseminates any information that governments may want to keep secret. By saying that wikileaks targets the US is a factual misrepresentation, wikileaks doesn't target any country, they are just a clearing house where individuals can anonymously whistle blow.

Of course the plethora of American information currently available could simply be an artifact of the mainly English based web, the massive amount of media attention that the broadcasters have put out, or a simple case of individuals with access to classified information feeling ethically obligated to bring injustice into the light.

That being said it wouldn't surprise me terribly if the CIA and mossad came to a quiet agreement about what happens to the staff of wikileaks.

And I want to know whats in the insurance file. Guaranteed the NSA has had that file bumped to the top of their decrypt list.

It is not Wikileaks that is the danger, (3, Interesting)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115444)

It is not Wikileaks that is the danger, it is the trigger happy US and allied military and the uncaring and arrogant US government that is jeopardising the safety and image of Americans to the world. To turn the oft repeated slogan on its head; "If you got nothing to hide, you should not fear Wikileaks". I am sick of hearing "political analysts" and politicians saying Wikileaks is endangering American soldiers because they expose atrocities committed by American soldiers, and as the flawed logic goes, emboldens the enemy. Seriously, this is something Goebbles or Stalin might say, not the leaders of the free world. Wikileaks is actually helping the US by creating negative consequences for excesses of its military. Instead of trying to silence Wikileaks by extra-legal, Gestapo/NKVD/Kempetai-like "rendering" of the founder (which will only worsen the US image), maybe the US should rein in their cowboy soldiers and walk the "spreading freedom and democracy" talk.

Not again (1)

brasselv (1471265) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115448)

I firmly believe (and hope), that the current administration has read enough history [wikipedia.org] to avoid dumb blunders.

Sour Grapes? (1)

stubob (204064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115450)

I thought the NYT, Times UK and Der Speigel got to review the "leak" before it was published.

Insurance file (1)

LambdaWolf (1561517) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115452)

Several other readers have pointed out that WikiLeaks posted a mysterious, encrypted "insurance" file on Thursday, which sent the media into a speculative frenzy over what it could possibly contain.

Oh man, this is the coolest part of all. Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory–friendly mystery? From the relevant link:

The 1.4GB file is encrypted with AES-256, so its contents are unknown, but it was quietly posted on the site's Afghan War Diary page on Thursday, days after it controversially disclosed tens of thousands of frontline reports.

The new file has prompted speculation, including from Cryptome's John Young, that Wikileaks would publish the passphrase to decrypt the file if the US took action against spokesman Julian Assange or others involved in the site.

Or perhaps the passphrase is even in someone else's safekeeping, to be published if Assange is arrested or otherwise incapacitated. Of course, the truly badass way to do it would be to have a cron job somewhere that will automatically upload the passphrase to a website unless Assange manually intervenes on a regular basis, like an informational dead-man's-switch. (I'm just idly speculating. That last plan would be overkill, better suited to a movie or something. Come to think of it, has that specific thing been done in fiction? I can think of similar examples but none with a cryptographic key to sensitive information.)

Re:Insurance file (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115684)

Of course, the truly badass way to do it would be to have a cron job somewhere that will automatically upload the passphrase to a website unless Assange manually intervenes on a regular basis, like an informational dead-man's-switch. (I'm just idly speculating. That last plan would be overkill, better suited to a movie or something.

To my knowledge, it's happened several places already, usually as a result of someone's attempt at technical job security.

Re:Insurance file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115744)

Several other readers have pointed out that WikiLeaks posted a mysterious, encrypted "insurance" file on Thursday, which sent the media into a speculative frenzy over what it could possibly contain.

Oh man, this is the coolest part of all. Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory–friendly mystery? From the relevant link:

The 1.4GB file is encrypted with AES-256, so its contents are unknown, but it was quietly posted on the site's Afghan War Diary page on Thursday, days after it controversially disclosed tens of thousands of frontline reports.

The new file has prompted speculation, including from Cryptome's John Young, that Wikileaks would publish the passphrase to decrypt the file if the US took action against spokesman Julian Assange or others involved in the site.

Or perhaps the passphrase is even in someone else's safekeeping, to be published if Assange is arrested or otherwise incapacitated. Of course, the truly badass way to do it would be to have a cron job somewhere that will automatically upload the passphrase to a website unless Assange manually intervenes on a regular basis, like an informational dead-man's-switch. (I'm just idly speculating. That last plan would be overkill, better suited to a movie or something. Come to think of it, has that specific thing been done in fiction? I can think of similar examples but none with a cryptographic key to sensitive information.)

The book "Digital Fortess" by dan brown. The plot is pretty much the exact same as this one. replace sensitive information with "public super encryption algorithm so that your information can't be decrypted"

-sean

And in other news, (3, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115484)

And in other news, Joseph Goebbels has written a scathing denunciation of the Jews, and the threat they pose to German society.

Don't blame the Post (entirely) for this opinion piece; they merely published it. It was written by one of Bush and Rummy's chief apologists, an alarmist advocate of martial law.

Pot calls Kettle Black: News at 11 (1)

Akvum (580456) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115492)

Too bad our patriotic freedom soldiers of love 'accidentally' made the Afghanis 'leak' some material, clearly and presently endangering their health. Surely that must have been Saddam's fault, not those glorious administrators doing 'god's work' in the pentagram.. er pentagon!

"Clear and Present Danger" (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115508)

Isn't "Clear and Present Danger" the terminology used to justify Executive Orders to assassinate someone Without Remorse? The Washington Post is playing Patriot Games. I think we owe Wikileaks a Debt of Honor.

not the WaPo (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115536)

This isn't the Washington Post, it's an op-ed they published, by a fellow for an industry shill group that's likely rather scared about corporate secrets (think Big Tobacco-style stuff) being leaked.

Feel free to ignore this article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115568)

Just look who the author is. What do you think an opinion piece on Wikileaks put out by Wolfowitz, Cheney, Frum, blah blah blah would look like? Exactly the same. It is standard boilerplate Neo-Con paranoia/horse shit. If I lost sleep every time Dick Cheney wanted to break international laws, I would never sleep.

Heh (1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115576)

From what I can tell the main complaint by the military is that this is risking military lives because it reveals tactics, informants, and plans. Let me assure you that A. The Taliban has long known our tactics for everything. Its pretty easy to figure out after the 500th skirmish where someone got away... B. The informants real names should of NEVER EVER been stored. Christ almighty, did the military learn jack shit from the CIA and there spy masters? We let every jack ass into the military.. this was bound to happen. C. Our plans are extremely transparent. Also they suck, they always have sucked in this kind of situation. They are going to spend a bunch of time/energy trying to find/kill Julian and if(when?) they succeed everyone will know it was the US. Thats when there shit will fly.. you think wikileaks doesn't have some kind of "Fuck you" plan saved up for the military? What do you think is in the encrypted insurance file? Its a fuck you file. They kill/capture Julian the next hour the password will be released and the military will be totally fucked.

Misleading headline... (1)

cpuh0g (839926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115584)

As others have pointed out, it was not the WaPo saying this, it was right wing hack Marc Theissen. Thiessen is yet another chicken hawk from the Bush/Cheney administration who writes a weekly column that is so utterly predictable and boring in its position (far far to the right) and lack of original thought (Obama is BAD! Democrats are making America weak! Iran is going to attack any day now!! blah blah blah). He basically regurgitates right-wing talking points he gets from the AEI or other conservative "think tanks" (talk about an oxymoron). Him and Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer are basically the same person, each one hates the left wingers with equal passion and yearns longingly for the glory days of secrecy and FUD everyone so enjoyed under the Dick Cheney administration.

If there's a leak... (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115598)

If there's a leak, then it might as well be published publicly so they know what was leaked. A scary alternative is a private leak funneling information exclusively to the Bad Guys, and they may never know what was leaked. If the information is concerning current or future strategy and it got on Wikileaks, at least they will be able to change course as needed. If, on the other hand, the information exposes government corruption, then it definitely should be made public.

Not a huge surprise... (1)

Uberman23 (1735246) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115628)

I would like to call your attention to the following quote from a WP article from November 24, 2009 speaking to their decision to shutdown all of their national offices: "...Brauchli, a former foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, acknowledged that "unquestionably there are advantages to having someone on the ground at times." But, he said, "We are not a national news organization of record serving a general audience. Nor are we a wire service or cable channel." Maintaining that The Post's strength is to report issues through a "Washington prism," Brauchli cited recent examples of education and economic reporters filing major dispatches from other cities to illustrate national trends..." (Original article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/24/AR2009112403014.html [washingtonpost.com] ) I believe the telling bit is the "Washington Prism", or mouth piece of the very regimes which are being called out in the leaked information. In that light this comes as no surprise.

HAHAH! (0, Troll)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115644)

Hope the guy gets prosecuted. I love seeing the boot heel of the military squash some libtards throat.

Why Just the US though? (1)

pyrothebouncer (1595641) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115654)

I am a fan of Wikileaks. I enjoy that they are exposing many injustices in the world such as in Iran after the elections, and the internet censorship lists from Australia. But, why are they only releasing US war documents? Can't they get ahold of documents from other countries involved in the wars? Why is is SO important to only smear the US and their efforts?

I think they are a great resource that can and is easily abused for the wrong purpose. Since they are supposedly an "open medium", posting secretive documents given to them not commonly accessible by the general public it is hard to regulate them. I think the regulation should come in the form of not only the US government being transparent about their plans (without affecting future plans), but other countries as well.

Lets "level" the playing field here.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33115716)

If someone were to completely ruin this site using black hat methods with no gov't assistance, I wonder if the US Gov't would consider it illegal or if they would pay a reward. Any takers?

Thiessen a Wart on the Discourse (4, Insightful)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33115760)

For those of you who've forgotten this fellow, he's a former Bush speechwriter and author of the terribly misleading "Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack".

The New Yorker did a piece [newyorker.com] on that book, investigating some of the claims made within and revealing many to be clearly false. Basically the book was a defense of "enhanced interrogation". One claim that I recall off the top of my head is that information obtained by the CIA through enhanced interrogation was instrumental in preventing a conspiracy to hijack several planes flying from London in 2006. Yet according to the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism unit, all the intelligence involved was gathered in the uk. Thiessen's version of events is flatly contradicted.

This guy has been one of the primary fonts of misinformation and foolishness in the media since then. He has no credibility, and should be regarded only as a bellwether of neoconservative opinion.
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