Here’s a good column that analyzes the meandering ethics of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the dump of U.S. military secrets online. A few graphs of interest:
It’s up to specialists in military affairs and those with a deep understanding of Afghanistan to determine if these documents will ultimately add to our understanding of the war or, as has been frequently argued, if such raw intelligence data simply add detail—some extraneous, some misleading, some valuable—to what we already knew. While it seems implausible that in 91,000 pages of secret documents there is nothing unknown, it is more likely that there is simply nothing explosive here. As New York Times editor Bill Keller told CNN, his reporters dug out plenty of interesting material but the cache wasn’t “full of scandals or revelations.
“Keller, who received the documents from Assange before they were published online, bristles at the suggestion that Assange is a journalist and that Wikileaks was, as the organization has repeatedly claimed, a “media partner” of the Times. Wikileaks, says Keller, was simply a source, no different than the countless other sources the newspaper works with. And unlike the Times, “they are an advocacy organization. They have a point of view, and an ideology…”
If Assange wants to be a journalist—and he consistently identifies himself as one—he would be advised to cease referring to Wikileaks as an “activist organization” attempting to make a “political impact” and “achieve justice.” As Washington Times national security correspondent Eli Lake told me, Assange is “an activist who understands computer code,” not a journalist.
I certainly agree with that. I did another interview with OurBlook about the Wikileaks case and will link to it soon.