I've purposefully avoided taking a position on the "Wikileaks - threat or menace" debate. Here, Rattle does:
I completely agree with Gen. Hayden's comments in this article. Wikileaks has been completely irresponsible. I don't see any positive side to the release of these documents.
Hayden's essay sure throws down a gauntlet at the hacker scene:
And all of this because of some corrupted view of the inherent evils of the modern state, a pseudo-romantic attachment to the absolute value of transparency, a casual indifference to inevitable consequences and a neurotic attachment to one individual's self importance. Rarely have we seen such a dangerous combination of arrogance and incompetence.
This isn't just a challenge to Wikileak's disclosure of this particular set of documents. This is a challenge to the idea of transparency itself. In this regard, Stratfor is wrong. The Wikileaks event isn't really about the war in Afghanistan - its about the Internet.
Apparently, this leak wasn't all that valuable to the general public. The event certainly has focused the public's attention on facts that insiders already know about the war, and the importance of the focus of the public's attention should not be underestimated. However, given that there is no great secret here that insiders were unaware of - this event represents an opportunity to debate the subject of freedom of information in a context where there is nothing to loose from siding with the establishment.
The results of this debate, in terms of public opinion, as well as the resulting legal framework within which the state can respond to public disclosures of this sort, will impact future situations in which the leak does matter to the general public, because it does reveal a secret that insiders weren't aware of.
In the world of the eternity service, ultimately, some things are going to be posted there that you'd rather not have out in the open. If you believe that there should be information resources that are beyond the reach of the state, you have to accept that. If you can't accept it, its all a matter of where and how to draw the line - the events of the past few weeks have circled around that very question.
So it doesn't really matter whether or not Wikileaks was irresponsible. It is inevitable that Wikileaks or someone like them is going to do something irresponsible, or at least something that a lot of people think is irresponsible. The important question is what ought to be done about it.
If you stop at simply deciding that you think Wikileaks was irresponsible, you avoid the opportunity to address the more important question being debated, and you concede the matter to a particular side by association.
The leaders of the Republican party have made their case - they would draw the line in such a manner that the military can use any and all capabilities at its disposal, no matter how brutal, to eliminate information from the Internet which it views as threatening, at least so long as this information is hosted outside the US by people who are not US nationals.
Some have also expressed the view that the establishment media should be the arbiters of what is responsible to disclose and what is not responsible to disclose, and this power should remain vested in those institutions and should not be hijacked by "Internet wackos."
If you think that Wikileaks should be stopped, and you disagree with either of these conclusions ... If you think the Internet provides necessary checks upon the judgment of these institutions - the onus is now upon you to decide how the matter of responsibility ought to judged and managed in this new world.
It is sufficient to say "I think what they did was irresponsible but I'll defend their right to do it" but if thats what you think, you have to say it, because the later part is what is important at this moment, and not the earlier part.
At this moment I find my convictions regarding the later part are being challenged, and so I cannot express my views on the earlier matter.
I think that is the point of the whole incident.