The Washington Post (link below) carries this story of a Defense Department investigation of an intelligence analyst who may have leaked classified information to the whistle-blower website wikileaks.
It is certainly understandable why intelligence organizations would regard wikileaks as a serious threat to classified information as well as covert activities and operatives. What seems absent or understated in the piece and the comments is that the threat from wikileaks and any other sources of this material would be greatly mitigated for the government, if leaks originating from politicians who leak for political advantage were stopped or prosecuted and agencies that hide incriminating or ambiguous information from public evaluation were to stop classifying so much that is worthless or only valuable for a short time and accelerate declassification of information. It would take a while to have any favorable effect but trust would likely increase, immediately there would be less to leak and the public would be better informed.
One of the items leaked was a video of a helicopter assault on innocents. Surely by this time the leadership of our governments, past, present and future, recognizes the futility of classifying this kind of material. I just intuitively know that I am not that much more intelligent than Obama, Gates and Holder. So why keep doing it and then complaining when it leaks?
One explanation is that the intelligence agencies don’t like President Obama and opening up would destroy morale. That’s not just nonsense, its silly. Intelligence agencies are populated by people who know that killing innocents is wrong. They also know that it has a punitive cost and should. They didn’t just get taught that in training, they learned it as children and it has been a part of their moral upbringing as it has for the rest of us. By that logic, BP should not be criticized over the spill because its hard-working employees will become depressed. I suspect many of them are already depressed by the spill and regret it as deeply as any. I also suspect that the depressed ones who are involved in the clean-up are not less motivated to straighten things out because of their depression.
I am convinced that a government that plays by the rules it has set for itself and others will regain trust and diminish, in this case, leaks. I am also convinced that a government that pursues leakers who are not part of the political élite and insiders to the items unnecessarily classified, will have more leaks to deal with, not fewer, and one of these days a leak will damage our national security irreparably. There are examples of leaks having done so before now and before wikileaks.