Pity the U.S. diplomats in the field, whose jobs presumably require that they now compose classified cables reporting back to Washington on local responses to the blunter aspects of their own wikileaked previous cables. The State Department has tried to close the barn door, uncoupling itself from the network that allowed the filching of what WikiLeaks claims is a cache of 251,287 cables from 274 diplomatic missions around the globe — 15,652 of these cables classified as “secret” and 101,748 as “confidential.” But how secure would you feel these days, either confiding in an American diplomat, or being one?
Pity their sources, or at least some of them, who thought they were speaking in confidence and now see their remarks plastered all over the internet. Pity a world in which any information that can be downloaded onto the internet is advertised as serving the high cause of “truth,” no matter who gets hurt.
Not that the wikileaked cables aren’t interesting. They’re fascinating. In the trove released to date, there are cables that deserved to be leaked. They expose a wealth of important information, from the begging and finagling with which the Obama administration has been pursuing an economically disastrous accord on “climate,” to the hypocrisies of Arab rulers who foster mindsets profoundly dangerous to the U.S. and its democratic allies, but plead privately with American officials for the U.S. to save their necks by cutting the head off the Iranian snake. And why, pray tell, has the Obama administration not done more to inform the American public about the specifics of the fears emanating from the Middle East itself regarding Iran, including such wikileaked items as “the Iran-Al-Qaeda connection.”
But that kind of information, yea, even those particular cables, could have been leaked without Assange embarking on the wholesale release of more than a quarter of a million State Department cables. There’s a difference between exposing specific wrongdoing, and exposing almost everything you happen to obtain in a massive download (some names have been crossed out, but not enough to protect various people, from Iran to Venezuela, who did no wrong and are now in harm’s way).