Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks Is Inevitable

So Wikileaks has released tons of documents which are so embarrassing to the United States government that Rep. Peter King has asked that it be labeled a terrorist organization.  While we’re at it, we could throw in PETA, Greenpeace, and ACORN because they’ve been national embarrassments as well.  In any case, this whole incident has demonstrated that there are tyrants in government, on both sides, and they are pretty much running things.  This means that we are all living under what essentially amounts to a totalitarian state.  Sure there aren’t any major genocide camps yet, but give it some time.  The Nazis were in power for almost a decade before they started exterminating the Jews, after all.

More to the point, I am just amused that that the Federal government seems shocked at what Wikileaks managed to release.  In all honesty, if it wasn’t Wikileaks, it would have been some other organization leaking these documents, or documents like it, because the very structure and organization of our Federal government necessitates it.

In a republic or a democracy, you need to limit the amount of secrets you have in order to successfully serve the people.  The reason is because the people you rule over (or “serve” as our masters like to say) have to informed of your activities.  A republic or democracy with secrets is one that will devolve into a totalitarian state, if it hasn’t already.  So really, Wikileaks was doing the US citizens a favor.

I’ve heard that in World War II, there was a saying: “Loose lips sink ships.”  It’s catchy, but at the same time this phrase doesn’t apply to what Wikileaks released.  A government that classifies every innocuous e-mail or memo that one mid-level bureaucrat sends to another.  I haven’t looked over every single document from Wikileaks, but I suspect that a good portion are casual e-mails that have nothing to do with anything.  I know this because I’ve been in document processing in the past and many of the e-mail archives were usually just that.  Every once and a while, though, we’d have to crack a password protected Excel file and find a pornographic picture of some kind in it.

Anyway, consider this: the Federal government has 2 million employees.  Add to that the numerous contracting companies that work for the Federal government.  Now consider that 1.2 million people have Secret level clearance and roughly 800,000 have Top Secret level clearance.  We are talking about hundreds of thousands of people with the clearance level to dump billions of “sensitive” documents on to the Internet.  It’s shocking that there haven’t more document dumps so far.  Perhaps Wikileaks could start offering cash rewards for more.

The only way for the Federal government to stop organizations like Wikileaks is to have less secrets, not police retaliation.  Even if the organization is disbanded or sent to Gitmo, there will be another that rises up.  This is because as long as the Federal government continues to insist that it needs to be secretive about every little thing it does, there will always be some disgruntled office worker (or army private) who will release it.  Heck, the IT guys in the Federal government probably have the real juicy stuff or access to it.

A more open government is one that doesn’t require the janitors to have top secret clearance.  It is one that has a few, well guarded secrets that have an expiration date.  It keeps them honest, ensures that the workers are doing their jobs and not watching porno for eight hours a day, and it gives the people a better sense of confidence.

On a side note, I’ve heard that Sweden has issued an arrest warrant against Julian Assange for rape.  Maybe he can become Roman Polanski’s roommate.

1 comment:

  1. on both sides

    How does a Republican's action demonstrate this?

    “Loose lips sink ships.”

    You may already be aware, but this was pertaining to troop movements, the implication being you shouldn't tell friends and family where a relative who was in the military was stationed or their expected movements (like... "Oh, my son's shipping off to invade Normandy in 6 days."

    I can say with some confidence that the documents leaked are not "sensitive" information, or anything that is "confidential" (like, say, the name of a secret informant). Most of it is completely banal, which is why a large chunk of the information they have was not released (they didn't release memos that talked exclusively about who won the World Series, for example). They have had this information for a while, but they weren't sitting on it; they read them and looked for the above criteria, because they know the game may be up if they don't.

    Then again, they may just bombard them with bullshit until they get tired of it and say, "Fuck it." But it will be like when Napster fell and Sharebear appeared, then Kazaa, then Limewire, then BitTorrent...

    And just as Napster was tame by current standards (single mp3's, not albums available before release and movies and digital books...), the sources of leaks in the future may not be so careful about what is released.


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