Heated as I am over WikiLeaks and our government’s response to it, I have tried to resist taking up this blog with my ire but to read:
“The Air Force is barring its personnel from using work computers to view the Web sites of The New York Times and more than 25 other news organizations and blogs that have posted secret cables obtained by WikiLeaks, Air Force officials said Tuesday.” Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/15/us/15wiki.html
is more than I can take. The Department of Defense is pointing out that this did not come from it, distancing itself from the Air Force leaders who did it. The article concludes as follows:
“Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, a secrecy specialist, said dozens of agencies, as well as branches of the military and government contractors, had issued their own policy instructions based on the Office of Management and Budget memo.
“It’s a self-defeating policy that will leave government employees less informed than they ought to be,” Mr. Aftergood said.”
That Office of Management and Budget memo instructed government employees not to read these documents on websites of newspapers, on either office or home computers.
This means effectively, as Mr. Aftergood says, that government employees will be less informed than they ought to be or than the public. There is something extraordinarily twisted in the thinking behind such decisions. The WikiLeaks news stories are interesting and revelatory to me but I am completely outside any context in which the information is useful to me or to the national defense. Unless the government calls to active service 67 year-old one time first lieutenants, that is. Presumably some significant fraction of government employees might actually see the day when something remembered from these stories “clicked” for them and the remainder of government employees should be put at no disadvantage just for being interested in what their government is doing, as I am.