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None Dare Call It Treason

Over the last few days, there's been a lot of talk about the whole WikiLeaks release of over a quarter million diplomatic cables stolen from the US. The harm being caused is incalculable, and I've heard a lot of people using the term "treason" in relation to the whole mess.

Which is almost completely inaccurate, and a misuse of the term treason.

Oh, it's fair to describe the alleged actions of PFC Bradley Manning, who has admitted to turning over a large amount of the documents WikiLeaks has released. (It's questionable if he had access to all the ones he's claimed to have taken.) But beyond that, it's really not a matter of "treason."

That's because, beyond Manning, the principals behind the mess aren't Americans. "Treason" only applies when one betrays one's own nation.

No, what is going on here is espionage. Espionage during a time of war.

What we are seeing with WikiLeaks is very akin to what we are seeing with militant Islam and the War On Terror: a non-state entity taking on some of the powers and influence previously accorded only to nation states. WikiLeaks is acting like the intelligence agency of a nation hostile to (if not at war) with the United States. They, like the terrorists, have declared a modern form of war against us, and are waging it just like the KGB would. They are violating our secrets and publicizing them for their own ideological ends -- which are inimical to our own national security.

In the old days, we had ways of dealing with that sort of thing. We could arrest, try, convict, and imprison them. We could swap them for our own intelligence agents. We could identify them and turn them to our own use, or feed them false information. We could even, in extreme circumstances, kill them. (Usually behind some euphemism like "sanction" or "terminate" or "vanish.")

But all those options, save the first and last, were contingent on one element that we lack here: a nation-state behind the opposing intelligence agency that which we could deal with. A counterpart, with clearly identifiable leadership and goals.

Here, like in the War on Terror, we are seeing a group take on some of the aspects of a nation-state, but not enough to qualify as such. They still qualify, under the old and still existing rules, as "civilians" and have the protections accorded thereto.

Quite frankly, the world has outgrown the presumptions behind those principles. Civilians were protected because they were seen as largely helpless and harmless.

No longer. Groups like Al Qaeda and WikiLeaks can actually cause more harm, in different ways, than many actual nations.

What we are seeing very well could be the beginning of the end of the modern nation-state. Non-state actors are becoming more and more powerful, taking on many of the powers that have been traditionally been reserved for nation-states -- but without the corresponding responsibilities and liabilities and weaknesses. They are, in their own way, waging war against the United States and other nations -- and doing so in a way that our own laws and customs regarding warfare limit our ability to fight back.

We need to adapt to this new reality. We need to rework how we deal with these trans-national organizations, to come up with new rules that cover groups that wage war on the US while still pretending to be "civilians."

In the case of WikiLeaks, my personal sentiment is to treat them precisely how they have become to be: a hostile foreign intelligence agency at war with the United States. Espionage charges, counterintelligence, information warfare, and even -- if necessary, "wet work" -- targeted assassinations.

That's the game they have chosen to play. And by choosing to play in the big leagues, they have forfeited their right to the protections accorded civilians.

Welcome to The Show, WikiLeaks. You wanted in -- you got it.

Update: Welcome, Instapundit readers! If you enjoyed this article, you might like the rather verbose followup posted here. Sorry for the lengths of both pieces, but I didn't have time to write less.


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Comments (54)

In a very real sense, what ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Medcalf:

In a very real sense, what we are seeing with al Qaeda, wikileaks, Mexico, Pakistan, the Somali pirates and others is a return to the pre-Weatphalian world. We have to learn a bit of history, ditch some of our notions about making war (particularly concepts of sovereignty and civilians and making war "nicer") and stop getting worked up about defending ourselves or killing the enemy. Until we do these things we are unprepared for the world as it is.

Jeff,Your statemen... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Jeff,

Your statement, "stop getting worked up about defending ourselves or killing the enemy" can be taken two ways. Care to expand on that a bit?

UOG

RE: "In the case of WikiLea... (Below threshold)
kevino:

RE: "In the case of WikiLeaks, my personal sentiment is to treat them precisely how they have become to be: a hostile foreign intelligence agency at war with the United States."

You can also say that about the State Department when a Republican is President.

RE: Eliminating the threat
Forget about it. The information being leaked is more damaging to President Bush, so President Obama won't do a thing. The information damages the war effort, so no one in the White House really cares. And, the Obama White House doesn't have the guts.

'It's a mean old world we l... (Below threshold)
Bill Johnson:

'It's a mean old world we live in, but I won't let it get me down'.

Reality bites sometimes.

Don't retreat, reload.

Good point about non-state actors. Bad thought about the end of nation-states. Much more likely the end of non-state actors. Pests get exterminated when they get too pesty. If a nation-state chose to eliminate the pest, it could do so easily - e.g. Alexander Litvinenko.

We just need to let our military know of the new targets and ROEs. We will have new Rules of Engagement for these sorts of people, no?

Did anyone spot a Predator lurking near Julian? You'll hear it...

I took it to mean "man up a... (Below threshold)
Mr Evilwrench:

I took it to mean "man up and do what needs to be done" though I may be mistaken.

The nature of war has changed. It's been democratized, in a way; the old military idiom has broken down almost completely. I'm not saying we don't need an organized military, but "going to war" is now almost pointless. We saw it in WWII, with the French Underground, the Partisans, Marcos, etc. etc., and feared it from Japan. It really took off with the VC in Vietnam. Now look at Iraq. We can conquer "the nation" utterly, have their army surrender to us, but if the people don't want to give up, even the most oppressive, militarized regime won't have enough soldiers to stop the combat.

When the people can democratize combat itself, they can democratize espionage as well. This guy can be dealt with, but we have to decide whether we want to go down that path.

Of course, it is treason!!... (Below threshold)
georgia:

Of course, it is treason!!! You need to get your head out of the Sand! In any other contry, this would not be telerated nor allowed.

You are jeopardizing the safety of our servicemen overseas and reducing the effectiveness and capability of of diplomats!!!

Nailed it again Jay.<... (Below threshold)

Nailed it again Jay.

All other questions aside, the US should definitely be pursuing espionage charges against these people. If they can't clear the civilian problem up, then let their home country know that we consider their citizen to be committing an act of war and we expect them to take it out.

What worries me is the "Terrorist" label is seemingly slapped on anything right now. I fully expect in a few more years to not be able to protest without being called a terrorist.

1984 is coming true. When that finally happens, the terrorists have won.

The first thing we, as amer... (Below threshold)
inge:

The first thing we, as americans, need to do is clean out our anti-american nest in DC. Until all that scum is removed, we can rebuild with a proud, american team.
While they have been judging America for years, mostly against, athe chickens have come home to roost. The current DC team look completlt ou of touch, and incompetent.

Jeff Metcalf is absolutely ... (Below threshold)

Jeff Metcalf is absolutely right.

It's long past time to take the gloves off and have at it with our enemies.

All of the attempts over the years to make war less violent, or to engage in "limited war", or to protect civilians, have only served to make ourselves defenseless in the face of our enemies, to prolong wars, and to make it overwhelmingly likely that the side that violates the rules will win.

Oh, and by the way, Obama is wrong to take our nuclear deterrent off the table, and to (informally, but decisively) dismantle our alliances with Britain and Israel. Britain is wrong to dismantle its aircraft carrier deterrent.

Part of me thinks PFC Bradl... (Below threshold)
John S:

Part of me thinks PFC Bradley Manning should face a military tribunal and firing squad, and Julian Assange needs to be abducted by aliens, Jimmy Hoffa style. (And maybe everyone else connected with Wikileaks could start having "accidents.") But since it's Hillary Clinton's State Dept. that has been humiliated and the Obama administration that been exposed (again) as the most incompetent in history, I'm torn on what to think.

Was Obama's birth certifica... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Was Obama's birth certificate one of those leaked documents?

New World Order... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

New World Order

What you are describing mig... (Below threshold)
Matt:

What you are describing might fit under the concept of Open Source Espionage. Instead of a hostile intelligence service working for a specific country agains a specific country we have an open source approach. People with diverse motivations decide that information they are privy to needs to be shared. Instead of being a "spy" and selling it to some intelligence agency, it goes to Wikileaks or other media source. Classified materials are released for the "good of mankind," damage is done, and the perpetrator sleeps well because they didn't "sell" the information since it is out there for everyone to see/use.

It's hard to prosecute for treason or espionage when motivation is not obviosly about ideology or monetary gain. You want to be very careful prosecuting someone that might have copies of millions of embarassing documents and a willingness to release them.

"Oh, it's fair to describe ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"Oh, it's fair to describe the alleged actions of PFC Bradley Manning, who has admitted to turning over a large amount of the documents WikiLeaks has released. (It's questionable if he had access to all the ones he's claimed to have taken.) "

Yeah, we still need to find out how some lowly PFC has a fight with his boyfriend, gets all spiteful like a girl and wants to 'unleash anarchy' on the U.S. by leaking documents that will end up getting people killed. All by himself?

"It's hard to prosecute for... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"It's hard to prosecute for treason or espionage when motivation is not obviosly about ideology or monetary gain. You want to be very careful prosecuting someone that might have copies of millions of embarassing documents and a willingness to release them."

That's why you don't 'prosecute' these spies. You hunt them down and kill them.

Another alternative is to t... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

Another alternative is to treat those who harbor and abet them as the nation state who did the deed. So if you give money, arms or refuge to those who harm the US, the US reserves the right to treat that as a cause of war and act accordingly. Whether it is wise to do so is another issue, but it certainly does re-balance the nation state vs individuals equation.

Hopefully, among the fallou... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Hopefully, among the fallout of this fiasco, will be the forced "retirement" of a substantial number of State Dept. employees. Why continue wasting the tax revenue?

I agree with yet another jo... (Below threshold)
John:

I agree with yet another john, any place that harbors this scum should be considered the sponsor and enormous presure put on them to turn his ass over to us. Make no place safe for him. Then the issue is once he's been turned over does anyone in government have the balls to treat him like a spy? As for the PVC that leaked the cables he's a traitor I don't care what his motives were. Try him if found guilty shoot him period.

It should seem obvious that... (Below threshold)
jim m:

It should seem obvious that this is espionage. Unfortunately, given the obama DOJ's inability to convict the terrorist guilty of the embassy bombings of murder I would be concerned about their ability to convict any associated with wikileaks.

No notion of branding Assange and friends as terrorists is ridiculous. This is not terrorism. They are leaking documents not planting bombs.

If this lead to some early retirements from the State dept all the better. State has actively worked against the interests of the US for years. They have taken the position that their job is to represent the interests of foreign nations to our government rather than the other way around. Thinning that herd would be a good thing.

This administration is good... (Below threshold)
John S:

This administration is good at making deals. Simply contact someplace like Yemen or Somalia and tell them if they want a "face to face" meeting with Obama, bring Assange's head.

Well stated, Mr Tea.<... (Below threshold)

Well stated, Mr Tea.

Has long amazed me that the espionage agent, Julian Assange, is not the subject of an American Kill or Capture Order. Failing which our First Ally, Australia (and notwithstanding the present and immediately past prime ministers and their administrations are either Marxists or modified Marxists) aught to have been requested to cancel Herr Assange's passport, issue an international warrant for his arrest -- and facilitate his extradition to America -- or to Guantanamo.

Ah for the good old days, w... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Ah for the good old days, when you could just "whack" someone. And everyone else would get 'the message'.

Where that to happen to Assange, I'm sure his pious cohorts would first shit/piss their pants, then destroy any connections they had with their leader.

None dare call it trea... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

None dare call it treason. As always for the right wing it is a double standard. It depends who is doing the leaking and what is leaked. It is perfectly alright for the right wing to leak the highly classified identity of CIA operative, Valerie Plume and finish her career probably that of her contacts. And as for her convicted leaker, Scooter Libby...

Bush said not pardoning Libby was was "the most difficult decision of his presidency." I wonder why it was difficult? Probably becuse so many other top Administration officials were involved, including Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

ROVE WAS REPORTEDLY ADMONISHED BY BUSH FOR LEAKING: "An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News. 'He made his displeasure known to Karl,' a presidential counselor told The News. 'He made his life miserable about this."

Unlike the outing of Plume none of the heavily redacted wikileaks were top secret, but information widely available to up to three million on the Pentagon internet, Sipernet, 90% wasn't even classified information but gossip.

JayYou are of the ... (Below threshold)
Joe:

Jay

You are of the opinion that Assange and Wikileaks should be treated as a spy and a hostile intelligence agency? You cannot be serious.

It is not his fat that the US Diplomatic and Inelligence Apparatus cannot secure their own information. Their arrogance in some of these communiques is astounding.

Julian Assange is not a US citizen and he has not committed any crime. The people leaking the documents are guilty of treason and should be punished. Assange is a journalist like him or not. He is informing the public and if what he has published contradicts the governments official line, then he should be applauded.

Should Woodward and Bernstein have not published the truth about Nixon?

.... the highly classified ... (Below threshold)

.... the highly classified identity of CIA operative, Valerie Plume and finish her career ....

Delusional fantasy on Goebbelsesque Big Lie.

The Langley typing pool's word-processor "operative" Mz Plame, was outed by the totalitarian Left's Foggy Bottom basta*d-offspring of the Soviet-agents, Alger Hiss et al-descended brahmanas's deputy secretary of state, Richard Lee Armitage.

Steve, haven't you gotten t... (Below threshold)

Steve, haven't you gotten tired of having the Plame situation explained to you?

1) She did not meet the legal definition of "covert."
B) The outer of Plame was Richard Armitage.
III) Armitage didn't break any laws in informing Bob Woodward about Plame's employment.
d) identifying Plame as a CIA agent was a reasonable answer to the question, "why the hell did you send Wilson to Africa, and how do you know he's lying when he says he didn't find any evidence?"

Finally, Steve, we ain't refighting THAT fight. Why don't you just man up for once and say whether or not you think WikiLeaks is doing a good or a bad thing, instead of playing the "but... but... you're hypocrites!" card? I'm getting really, really sick of that game.

J.

Wikileaks, Jay, definitely... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Wikileaks, Jay, definitely, I think the release is positive. Alot of this is ammunition /fodder for the right, as well as left on such topics as a nuclear developing Iran. The main actors/decison markers for the political system are the citizens of the republic. Unless it is a military secret, they should have the same rights as soldiers in the Pentagon or Bob Woodward. Why should citizens be denied access and the expertise of so-called experts in the field? Let's get the unvarnished reports rather than the spin of selective leaks. Most of these things would probably become available under freedom of information, an approach which even the Obama governement shudders from.
Apparently, the Secretary of State hasn't freed up information of such opinion/gossip evaluations since 1972. Obviously they are too hidebound.

If all American diplomats are illegally ordered to spy on other diplomats and UN top officials such as the WHO president, by obtaining their passwords creditcard number it makes you wonder who we are not spying on? It looks good on them- I can see why Hillary is her element, probably we are spying on each other, what's the difference? So much for hope and change I agree, it was all a smokescreen.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive". Sir Walter Scott

Jay are you happy?

Welcome to The Show, Wik... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Welcome to The Show, WikiLeaks. You wanted in -- you got it.

Exactly. Give it to them right back, only harder.

On that note, perhaps (King Julian*) Assange should be treated the way spies were treated in WWII: interrogated then shot.

*He reminds me of King Julian from "Madagascar", the self-appointed and conceited ruler and party boy of the zoo who loves attention anyway he can get it. And in Assange's case, no matter who gets hurt or killed.

Jay are you happy?</... (Below threshold)

Jay are you happy?

(Serious, contemplative tone) Actually, Steve, not happy, but... intrigued.

I've got a followup piece half-written in my head (things at Day Job blew up and it's taking me there for almost 12 hours today), and you've given me a few notions that work quite nicely with that posting. Some of the things really, really play into what I'm working on, and I intend to use them. (Might not, but as of now they're in.)

You annoyed me, Steve, and I told you so. I'm finding that I'm more and more willing to express my annoyance.

But your later answer... as I said, it's got me thinking. You haven't changed the gist of my piece, but you may have given me ideas for a paragraph or two.

And no, it won't be a slam on you. Promise. I want to get this piece right, and I wouldn't use that to cheap-shot you. Seriously, you've given me a wee bit of help on that article, and for that, you have my thanks.

J.

Most of these things wou... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Most of these things would probably become available under freedom of information...

No, actually, they wouldn't, you ignorant slut. The frivolous personal evaluations of heads of state, perhaps. The more sensitive, high-level, "hey, we'd like to see that fuck Ahmadinejad taken out too, please help us with that" materials never as it would compromise trust, credibility and integrity--aspects you're clearly unfamiliar with--in future negotiations and dealings.

"It (their release) woul... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

"It (their release) would compromise trust, cedibility and integrity"
You have got that right Peter F!


The US State Department gave its diplomats instructions to spy on other countries' representatives at the United Nations, according to a directive signed by Hillary Clinton. Diplomats were told to collect information about e-mail accounts, credit cards and passwords, among other things.

US diplomats are alleged to have been asked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to spy on the diplomats of other countries, (most of them our allies0 at the United Nations. That was the purpose of the "National Humint Collection Directive," which has been seen by SPIEGEL. The document was signed by Clinton and came into force on July 31, 2009.


The information to be collected included personal credit card information, frequent flyer customer numbers, as well as e-mail and telephone accounts. In many cases the State Department also requested "biometric information," "passwords" and "personal encryption keys." In the US, the term biometric information generally refers to fingerprints, passport photos and iris scans, among other things.

You had better send your grievance to Hillary Clinton. HOW THIS HAS COMPROMISED OUR TRUST, CREDIBITY AND INTEGRITY



We don't have to target the... (Below threshold)
David:

We don't have to target them for assassination. China is going to take care of that. Everyone likes to whine and moan about how evil the United States is, but these memo's have seriously damaged China, and china doesn't have any reservations about killing dissidents foreign or abroad.

Good old right wingers: Kil... (Below threshold)
beetroot:

Good old right wingers: Killing is the thing! More killing! Not enough people being killed! Bring 'em on, let's kill some!! Foreign national? Who cares! Kill kill kill kill! Hey it worked great after 9/11. Look at all the people we've killed! And the world still isn't perfect - better kill some more!!!!

I can see the drool glistening in this thread from Pennsylvania.

Funny how the seriousness o... (Below threshold)
Uffda:

Funny how the seriousness of the offense is ameliorated as the stolen classified information is transferred. What begins as treason by an American and an assault on our national security by WikiLeaks becomes merely condemnable, constitutionally protected behavior when published by the press. Common sense, much less original intent has been rendered meaningless. A headline, "Omaha Beach Landing to Commence at Dawn Tomorrow" would be defended under the first amendment by many of the dupes of the Left.

The state dept. is staffed ... (Below threshold)
dunce:

The state dept. is staffed mostly by frat boys from ivy league schools who have degrees in political science,social science and any thing that is not hard science.The handling of politically sensitive material was a measure of their competency.There are military attaches assigned to the posts but they are directed by the ambassador who may well have been appointed as a reward for campaign cash. The leaker was what you can expect from a guy who thinks rectums are sex organs. DADT

I just read a recent interv... (Below threshold)
John S:

I just read a recent interview where Julian Assange says his next target for leaks is a "major U.S. bank." Assange is a dead man.

I disagree with this articl... (Below threshold)
Fred Key:

I disagree with this article to an extent. Bradley Manning, a member of the US Army, was acting on his own against the US when he illegaly took harmful and secret information from US Intelligence agencies and then gave them to a third-party who distributed the information. Right there, he betrayed his country and therefore could be tried for treason. Will it happen, probably not, but he did commit treason by your definition.

Non-state actors operate fr... (Below threshold)
Irving:

Non-state actors operate from territory and within the nationally provided resource-pool of a State. This is one of the reasons we have State Departments. Nation X calls nation Y and asks what Nation Y is going to do about the problem with either it's own citizen, or with someone operating from Nation Y's sovergien territory.

If Nation Y says, "Nothing," then Nation Y is now complicit. The issue is now a State-to-State issue.

Uh, after Assange gets thro... (Below threshold)
Sardondi:

Uh, after Assange gets through embarrassing the entire world, exactly where does he think he's going to be all safe and warm and protected?

He's the man who is so busy pissing on everything around him that he hasn't yet noticed he's it's his own room.

With all due respect, Mr. T... (Below threshold)
Mrs. du Toit:

With all due respect, Mr. Tea, I think your analysis is way too complicated, as are your recommendations: Someone just needs to shoot the bastard.

Assange is the grown-up equivalent of the boy who is tossed a little girl's diary (that he acquires in a cruel game of hot potato), and then reads it out loud to embarrass and shame her. The other boys just wanted to taunt her, but wouldn't have gone so far as it read it, as the other boy has done. The boy scans the pages for commentary that are the most inflammatory, attempting to portray that the whole diary is full of such things. No reasonably intelligent child is shocked that the little girl has private thoughts, or has bad things to say about some of her classmates. The only real revelation is who she has a crush on this week, not that she has one. Anyone who is surprised by the type of information contained in the diary is a fool, so there is a silver lining to what the boy has done: He allows us to identify the fools among us... for failing to grasp that being tossed the diary doesn't give someone arm's length protections to disclose the information, and that people say dumb and/or silly things (or inflammatory things that can hurt others) in private.

Claims that Assange is somehow protected under the noble banner of a free press is specious at best, and naive at worst (see diary analogy above).

Analogies aside... that is not to say that Assange is not a danger who needs to be dealt with quietly and swiftly. The fact that he hasn't been, says more about the impotency of the current Administration (in the face of a threat), than it does about any power Assange may be perceived to have.

But it isn't anything akin to a new paradigm or new world order. Assange is just a wimp (he doesn't even rise to the level of bully) and he needs to be taken out.

The greatest danger Assange poses is giving our enemies the perception that we are weak (and wimps) for failing to deal with the little pest.

JFK's vacillation and mismanagement of the Bay of Pigs comes to mind--leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis (that nearly got all of us killed), because of the Soviet belief that JFK was spineless.

A perception of weakness is the greatest threat to victory against our enemies.

beetroot -- Unlike the left... (Below threshold)
Rob Crawford:

beetroot -- Unlike the left, which answers every question with love and kindness?

Unless, of course, the question is "what do I do with my unborn child", in which case the answer is "kill it".

Or the question is, "how do I take care of my elderly parents", in which case the answer is "kill them".

Or the question is, "how do we nurture liberty", in which the answer is "kill it".

If you're too immature to understand the adult world, by all means count yourself out. Just don't interject your childish whines and expect anyone to think you're anything but a little crybaby.

As far as I know, Congress ... (Below threshold)
david:

As far as I know, Congress has not declared war. So "Espionage during a time of war." is referring to something else, like say, the war on cancer or the war on obesity.
If the US is going to take significant military action (on the scale of Iraq, Korea, Vietnam) I think Congress should declare war and it should go until the enemy unconditionally surrenders, otherwise we should not fight.

One of the big issues - Let... (Below threshold)
kg2v Author Profile Page:

One of the big issues - Let's say you DID do wetwork with Assange - his #2 would say "look, look" - there is no 'there there'

Now, however, if you published out "anyone hosting this material has 48 hours to take it down, or else state means will be used", and then put a GBU-38 through the window of the hosting ISP 2 hours post deadline, I think the various ISPs out there MIGHT take the hint

Mrs. du Toit, I thought you... (Below threshold)

Mrs. du Toit, I thought your analogy of Assange as the boy reading the diary was spot on. However, I think Jay Tea has a point about the increasing importance of extra-national actors on the world stage.
It's an Army of Davids from Hell.

Some of these non-state pow... (Below threshold)
ThomasD:

Some of these non-state powers exist in the absence of a functioning state (AQ in Afganistan.)

But others exist because states tolerate, if not openly support them - AQ in Pakistan and Wikileaks in Sweden.

I agree there is little to be done against those who are able to operate, and project power within the wilderness or hinterlands, other than punitive miltary expeditions.

But there is much more than can be done against the states who tolerate those within their midst. Espionage is espionage and Sweden, or whatever nation he seeks harbor in, needs to cough up Assange in chains or face certain consequences. We simply lack the political will to make such demands.

Continued failure to do so indicates an unwillingness to control and enforce the rules of the game. It is an abdication of international leadership. One that will cost of dearly as events proceed further and further from our control.

What Wikileaks has done is only the beginning, now any mid-level apparatchik with access to something dangerous or embarrassing has an easy outlet with all but guaranteed anonymity. It used to be a dangerous game to leak - worrying about whether you would be recognized as the source, or whether the reporter you spoke to would cave under pressure and rat you out. Now your juicy little tidbit can be mixed in with a ton of other information, the aggregate proving a Gordion knot to any attempts at counter intelligence.

People are going to arc the... (Below threshold)
hitnrun:

People are going to arc their eyebrows at Jay Tea's analysis and its startling conclusions. Many people from across the ideological spectrum will be extremely hesitant to open this Pandora's Box, and I can see the liberal blog commenter set is already active above, processing this as they do all changes in political reality - with ridicule and Hitler comparisons until reality completely overwhelms them.

But in this one case, it isn't bloody-toothed right wingers who are going to inaugurate the new world order. It's liberal-beloved "international community." Specifically, the parts of it speaking for Russia and China.

Remember the drug lawyer Le... (Below threshold)

Remember the drug lawyer Levy in the Wire talking to Orlando Blocker after he had been arrested? "You wanted to be in the game, now you're in the game."

You start out well, roughly... (Below threshold)
Mark M.:

You start out well, roughly summarizing the points raised by Alvin Toffler in "The Third Wave" and "Powershift" regarding the rise of the individual in relation to the state.

Then you get to this:
"Espionage charges, counterintelligence, information warfare, and even -- if necessary, "wet work" -- targeted assassinations."

Great. Welcome to the national security state where citizens can be targeted for assassination for political activism. Welcome to the Roman Empire, circa, 2010. Talk about blurring the line in the name of statism. Why not also green light the State deliberately using sexual assault to humiliate it's enemies?

http://www.prisonplanet.com/mother-kept-in-glass-cage-for-almost-an-hour-by-tsa-for-resisting-over-breast-milk.html

I'm a *very* conservative guy, and I think two things when I read your conclusion:

1. You're either an idiot or a closet fascist, and I'm not talking about a conservative that's winning the argument.

2. How can you seriously argue for stripping away civilian protections for political speech, when we won't go after real, live terrorists and jihadi insurgents in Afghanistan?

The special status of their civilian victims is what *MAKES* them terrorists, and permits us to shoot them on site under the terms of the Geneva Convention. Military Tribunals are simply an unnecessary but nice exercise in generosity in the hopes that someone in the wrong place in the wrong time gets put up against the wall.

So, in a war zone? Shoot away if it supports the mission. (It's an 'if' that I don't have enough information to answer, I admit).

In civilian life? Absolutely not. This is probably the dumbest idea from a 'conservative' since "Let's vote for Herr Hitler-- he's excitable, but he scares the crap out of the commies and we can control him."

Mark, the crux of my argume... (Below threshold)

Mark, the crux of my argument is that certain civilians have crossed the line and are acting as hostiles -- either as terrorists or as spies. That they have no nation-state behind them does not diminish in the least the harm they are causing.

I am saying to treat them as they are acting, regardless of affiliations and sponsorships.

There's a very easy way to preserve one's protected status as a civilian: remain a civilian. Don't start playing games at being more.

J.

This is all very simple. An... (Below threshold)
ian:

This is all very simple. An organization has declared war on the US and repeatedly acts to harm it by releasing intelligence info and now diplomatic communications. Usually when a nation's national security is being targeted that nation reacts. I say usually because we happen to be saddled with a weak, Jimmy Carter-like president who gets lost in the muddle. Time for the post-American president to defend good old US national interests.

We should thank WikiLeaks f... (Below threshold)
ic:

We should thank WikiLeaks for waking us up.

The US govt has no excuses to be so incompetent in protecting our "top secrets". We have too many "classified" documents to protect. If every one is special, then no on is special. If every embarrassing bureaucratic utterance is secret, then not even the newest Chinese super computer can protect us from the tsunami of secrets. The bureaucrats should stop their proliferations of classifies, and let us put resources to protect the life-and-death "secrets" as we were able to do in the cold war. Oh, may be the KGB has just kept secret their abilities to read our "secrets"?!

if its considered espionage... (Below threshold)

if its considered espionage...then let's assasinate anyone and everyone connected to Wikileaks. Go back the the "Soviet" style whacking those who get in your way...but then Teddy Roosevelt (the good Roo.) said it first, "Speak softly but carry a big stick."

So, lets take the big stick after this sleeze bag.

I don't see how Assange and... (Below threshold)
Victor Erimita:

I don't see how Assange and Wikileaks are diiferent from, or worse than, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post or other media outlets that publish stolen, classified government documents. I agree that Assange should be treated as a spy. But so should "news" outlets who publish stolen documents. These outlets have no First Amendment protection against publishing materials they have no right to have in the first place. Would the New York Times have a First Amendment right to publish the stolen formula for Coca Cola? Of course not. Neither should they be allowed to routinely publish documents stolen from the government and "leaked" to them. All those responsible, up to and including the publisher, should be prosecuted for it.

Some perspective is needed.... (Below threshold)
Hoover:

Some perspective is needed.

Try to assess how much damage this is doing to America.

In the grand scheme of things, is it harming America at all?

No. It's revealing an America that takes its responsibilities seriously.

It's rightly exposing various sociopathic world leaders to their people as idiots and liars.

Wikileaks is benefiting America.

Your responses are childish and emotional. I laugh at the way commenters cling to the notion that diplomacy needs to be secret. It's the child's respect for authority for the sake of authority.




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