Chuck Holton

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The Wrong Kind of Transparency

It has been called a "slow-motion avalanche." The media-frenzy inducing gradual release of a quarter million leaked U.S. government cables on the Wikileaks website. Its owner, a self-styled hacker who claims to be releasing the documents in the name of "transparency" is now in jail, but the fallout from his revelations will continue to be felt for years to come.

Here are a few reasons why Assange's idea of government "transparency" is bad for America.

1. Keeping our country safe from terrorists depends on the free flow of information within government. Indeed, the 9/11 attacks were accomplished by exploiting areas of weak communication that have since been remedied by making sensitive information more accessible to more people within government. The Wikileaks scandal will have the effect of rolling back some of that progress.

2. Our allies will be less willing to offer support for programs and policies "under the table" that might hurt them politically if the information became public. These kinds of deals have been an important part of diplomacy throughout history, but especially since 9/11. Governments like Yemen, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia who have their own reasons for wanting to drive terrorism from their shores, but whose citizens hold many views contrary to Western values, will now be more reluctant to work with us behind the scenes for fear that their compromises will be compromised, so to speak. This is bad for everyone.

3. The Wikileaks cables will have the effect of increasing both bureaucratic friction and institutional timidity within our government, both things we could do with much less of at this stage of the game. This makes getting anything positive accomplished that much more difficult in an already risk-averse government and military culture. Access to timely, frank, and accurate information literally saves lives on the battlefield. Now, that's less likely to happen.

Bottom line, there really are some things that we don't need to know, or at least have confirmed in writing. Assange and his supporters may think they are "sticking it to the man" by releasing sensitive information, much of which is fascinating, if not earthshaking in its scope. But in reality, they are sticking it to you and me – making our country more vulnerable and cumbersome to protect.

So thanks for nothing, Julian Assange.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010 1:17 AM

Comments on this post

# RE: The Wrong Kind of Transparency

Could be the wrong type of transparency but the world is sick of waiting for the right kind from the US. We hear promises of greater transparency but only get more blood spilled, now little boys sexually exploited in Afghanistann cover up the surrounding murders in Iraq. There is no risk from the leaks, this is a dishonest and evil fear campaign supported by no facts at all. Normal these days for the US to demonise, whip up fear and hysteria, engage in political persecution, and deny human rights just to cover their greedy backsides, Don't fall for it. By now all Americans must know all they hear from government is spin and propoganda and it is time for the truth. the US has become what it used to stand against.
Left by Open on Dec 09, 2010 1:57 AM

# RE: The Wrong Kind of Transparency

SomeoNE does not agree with you. US did not believe that Iraq was transparent enough on weapons inspection so blew the place up and you lot complain of a website when US is not transparent enough UNBELIEVABLE.

Do Unto others... NOT.
Left by Open on Dec 09, 2010 2:05 AM