The White House sure does think so – calling WikiLeaks “reckless and dangerous. . . .” White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, stated that WikiLeaks' latest “expose” of government documents has put lives in danger, specifically the international diplomats, intelligence professionals, and other people around the world who come to the U.S. for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.
WikiLeaks argues that their work is based on the “defense of freedom of speech and media publishing,” and that they are in the noble search of creating a common “historical record and the support of the rights of all people.”
But are they just putting people, nations and peace in danger with their “reckless and dangerous” pursuit of some idealist notion? The ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee thinks so, as he has now urged Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, and urged Secretary of
State, Hillary Clinton, to designate the organization as a “foreign terrorist organization. Beyond partisan lines, congressional members are outraged at the danger of this organization's actions – mainly, destroying the trust and openness certain individuals have (or in reality had) when dealing with the United States. Surprisingly, even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has lashed out against the website.
While most of the information that is “dumped” on their site, without any real review, is in fact mostly benign. But benign information can still harm the United States' security. Certain revelations of acquiescence to other state actors, or what the U.S. is willing to negotiate before negotiations are done, are very harmful to the United States' ability to act and in turn affects its ability to protect its citizens.
As legislators are seemingly finally beginning to consider what to do with the WikiLeaks – perhaps it will behoove policymakers, academics and students alike to consider what the benefits are of these pursuits of “openness,” when compared to the adverse dangerous effects on national security and the American people.