In a statement released to the media, the White House said: “By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals. We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”
Regardless of whether WikiLeaks’ actions are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the actions taken by the administration have been deficient and, quite frankly, pathetic. Instead of complaining about new media operators who have found ways to exploit cracks in the system, the administration should be hard at work evaluating and assessing the weaknesses of our nation’s information security both at home and abroad; it should be focused on bringing in the resources and establishing procedures to protect the lives of those affected by the information leaked; it should be devising protocols for safe-guarding the nation’s online security and diplomatic resources.
Rather than pointing the finger of blame at a World Wide Web site based outside the U.S. for doing what it was set up to do—leak information to the international public—the administration would do better to acknowledge its own fault and failures in the matter. After all, WikiLeaks’ suspected source for the information was none other than a U.S. army intelligence analyst who allegedly pilfered the data from a U.S. army base with staggering ease by downloading it onto a memory stick.
It’s no secret that the communications revolution has made the world a different place, but in terms of security, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We should always be vigilant and stay one step ahead of the people who would do us harm. The principal role of the presidency is to protect the United States and the lives of its people—not to doodle with passing blame, which the administration has the tendency of doing. The integrity of our national security cannot and should not depend on the likes of guys like Julian Paul Assange to do the right thing.