WikiLeaks, A Postscript: NYT

Feb 20th, 2012 wikileaks

On Feb. 19th, 2012, Bill Keller wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.  Recounting all of his coverage of WikiLeaks and the various leaks, Keller concluded that WikiLeaks has not transformed our world and did not bring about "some new digital age of transparency."  WikiLeaks did not grind U.S. foreign policy to a halt.  And WikiLeaks' disclosure of source names (i.e. informants) did not condemn those sources to death (though Keller acknowledged that we probably wouldn't know if it did).

Rather, Keller argued that since WikiLeaks released all those documents, there have been a conspicuous absence of disclosures.  Keller attributed that absence to a number of factors: the Obama administration's aggressive pursuit of leakers, the government's focus on the "insider threat", and the chilling effect that prosecutions (like Bradley Manning's) have had on potential whistleblowers. 

Keller's big point: "The most palpable legacy of the WikiLeaks campaign for transparency is that the U.S. government is more secretive than ever."

You can find the New York Times source article here.


Jack Goldsmith wrote a blog post for Lawfare on Mr. Keller's column.  Goldsmith agreed that WikiLeaks' impact has been overblown, but did not agree that the US government is more secretive than ever.  In fact, Goldsmith pointed to the failure of government leak prosecutions, the "size of the secrecy bureaucracy," and the relative ease with which hackers (like Anonymous) can steal confidential information as evidence  that "the government is losing war against leaks."

Check out the rest of the Lawfare blog post here.

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

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Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

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Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

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