My biggest concern with wikileaks is the idea that some individual or organization can take life-threatening or national-security threatening information and post it on the internet will-nilly, without considering the consequences. It is true that governments need to be transparent, but it is also true that there are many lives at stake. I am not personally one for giving up rights for security, but the whole thing gives me the creeps.
I am not against the idea of NGO's and individuals releasing government information to provide transparency, accountability and to preserve democracy. Wikileaks didn't do this. Wikileaks released tons of information that exposed government actions that are both necessary and that require some level of secrecy in order to function. It's one thing if our government is torturing American citizens in secret prisons--the public has a right to know this and put a stop to it. It's quite another if our State Department diplomats talk candidly with Saudi Arabia about Iran. What good does publishing their conversation accomplish? It simply makes Iran more intransigent and difficult to work with and this puts peoples lives in danger.
I think that what wikileaks did was wrong. While I feel that our government should be transparent in the operation of our country, I realize that there are certain things that need to remain confidential.
I vigorously agree with both of the statements made above. The Wikileaks revelations do not show the government lying to us. They do not reveal government waste. They do not tell us anything that we really need to know. All they do is put into the public eye a number of confidential correspondences that really should have remained confidential.
To take Post #3's analogy, this is not Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. This is like Richard Nixon's people succeeding in tapping the Democratic Party's headquarters and then releasing all of the Party's secret plans.
I am against wikileaks. I think that this website and its adminitrators are being irresponsible. There is a difference between making public information that shows the government is doing some harm to the public through illegal actions and making public information that the government has a legitimate reason to keep secret. Wikileaks does not make that disticnction and instead of keeping the government honest through leaking information, it is hurting the United States. Daniel Ellsburg I think, knew the difference when he made the Pentagon Papersd public. Wikileaks does not.
Personally, I am opposed to Wikileak's policy of leaking sensitive government information as if it were the almighty guardian of our "right to know." Although open society and government is the best policy, there are some matters, including national security, where indiscriminate disclosure is not only unwise, it is dangerous. I realize that Wikileaks claims it is acting in the best interest of the U.S. public (strange, since Mr. Assange is not an American citizen) and under the time tested claim of First Amendment Freedom of the Press. However, any serious student of the constitution will advise you that all Constitutional rights are subject to some limitation. One cannot claim Freedom of Religion to justify human sacrifice. By the same token, Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes commented in Schenk vs. United Statesthat freedom of speech gives no one the right to cry "fire!" in a crowed theater. In my humble opinion, Wikileaks and Mr. Assange are more interested in creating a name for themselves than in being martyrs for the cause of free speech.