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Discussion Starter #1
So, now the .gov is looking into prosecuting Julian Assange (founder of WikiLeaks) for exposing classified material. Can they? Should they, even if they could? The PFC that apparently leaked the info...yeah, he's done, but what grounds do we have for going after Assange?

WikiLeaks said they were doing this to expose (in part) human rights violations by the United States. So far I haven't seen anything like that, and frankly nothing I've seen or heard is all that shocking. Pakistan doesn't want to give the impression that we were taking over their enriched uranium....smart boys. Even China thinks Kim Jung Il is pain in the ass...anybody surprised by this? The Yemeni President might have some "splainin' to do, but did anyone really believe we didn't have a hand in that training camp attack? Really?

Khadafi has a hot blonde nurse....good for him. Reminds me of Christopher Walken in Suicide Kings...

The biggest revelation for some might be seeing that the Arab nations (read Muslims) aren't really one big happy family after all.

I'm sure there are a few governments that will feign outrage over some of the candid comments in the leak. More than likely though, they'll circle the wagons and go after the messenger. How dare he throw a wrench in the propaganda machine?!?

If you set aside the sensationalistic spin by our media...is it really that big a deal?



* Please stay on topic and leave out the partisan political BS lest your post be deleted, thank you.
 

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Maybe if Gunmints don't want to be embarrassed maybe they should not do embarrassing things. :)
 

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If they release information (like our informants or service personnel names) hang the "Bastard".

If they are informing us of a mistake or other transgression, well done!

To me it comes down to the Jack Nicholson test, if " All you did was weaken a country today", hang-em.

JMTCW

Joe
 

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What if they released information that gave away our troop positions? What if troops died because of it? What if one of those soldiers was related to you? At what point does it go from being just a little embarassing to harmful?

The law doesn't differentiate between harmless and harmful and the precedents you set, can have wide ranging impacts. If it's OK to release this, then it is OK to reveal where a squad of seals are behind enemy lines and what their mission objectives are. So there is definitely an aspect of needing to protect our nation.

However, there is also freedom of speech AND there is a point when a legitimate whistle blower has a responsibility to call attention to something that is wrong. Personally I think wikileaks will get away with because the courts have already ruled that you can't prosecute a newspaper for printing classified material. The government is trying to argue that wikileaks is not a newspaper but acting as a middle man to deliver classified information for someone else. I don't think it will hold up in court. It's just posturing.

And for the record, I work for a DoD agency and have a clearance. I take my responsibility to protect our nations secrets pretty seriously. The state dept. stuff seems fairly tame in terms of what could be released, however I have no respect for the person who did it, they violated a trust.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Kalli said:
What if they released information that gave away our troop positions? What if troops died because of it? What if one of those soldiers was related to you? At what point does it go from being just a little embarassing to harmful?
I would hope that info would be held as Secret or higher, and that your run of the mill PFC clerk wouldn't have access to that level of detail.
 

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hoog62 said:
I would hope that info would be held as Secret or higher, and that your run of the mill PFC clerk wouldn't have access to that level of detail.
They don't give clearances based on rank. Heck, I'm a civilian and so are most of my immediate coworkers. If you are assigned to an area which requires a clearance, you are processed to get a clearance. They go through your background, interview your friends, family and neighbors. If your clearance is high enough, you get to sit for a polygraph. They look for any sign you might be a risk and if you are, they with hold the clearance. Otherwise the clearance is granted and you go to work handling classified material. You get access to classified networks. You could get access to classified open storage processing rooms. In theory all information is kept on a need to know basis, but things slip. Classified information spills out of classified space because people make mistakes and that discounts people acting nefariously to gain access to information they shouldn't have access to. Paperwork is processed and even small bits of seemingly harmless information could be put together to figure out something that shouldn't be public knowledge. Which means there are run of the mill PFC clerks with access to secret and even higher information. Someone has to process that paperwork and you can be darn sure, it isn't the captain.
 

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I must admit that I am really conflicted on this.

The Aspen Daily News used to have the tag line: "if you don't want it printed, don't let it happen", but the stakes in these leaks are awfully high.

I agree that the government is wholly responsible for controlling classified information and it seems they are doing a poor job. Our support of the freedom of the press and free speech should allow the Wikileaks website or any other entity to share information they receive, but it is very troubling when this information puts lives at risk. Like many, if not most of our freedoms, they do not come without some unintended consequences.
 

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Randy said:
I must admit that I am really conflicted on this.

The Aspen Daily News used to have the tag line: "if you don't want it printed, don't let it happen", but the stakes in these leaks are awfully high.

I agree that the government is wholly responsible for controlling classified information and it seems they are doing a poor job. Our support of the freedom of the press and free speech should allow the Wikileaks website or any other entity to share information they receive, but it is very troubling when this information puts lives at risk. Like many, if not most of our freedoms, they do not come without some unintended consequences.
Well said Randy. My .02 to add is that, IF there is a possibility of lives or "national security" being put at risk, prosecute to the fullest those responsible for the leaks and publication of those leaks. As you said the stakes are awfully high. You can't undo things that are released to the world, so to err on the side of caution is the most prudent IMHO.
 

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So far I have yet to see somebody getting killed due to those leaks. I and almost everybody else can point to decisions of the goverment that had people killed. So we are talking hypothetical kills vs. real kills. REALLY?

I can understand that the gov, is embarrassed, but there is an easy way out of that: Don't let yourself getting caught with your pants down by not doing things that will come out at one point. One would think that SLOWLY , very SLOWLY politicians and other gov. types alike would learn that in these days you can't keep anything a secret forever. And the cycle will get even shorter.

This is the same asinine idea that the music companies have that they will be able to stop file sharing. It is that mentality that says control vs. correction that is ultimately going to fail.

Another fine example of the same train of thought was the prohibition, or the "war on drugs" . NONE of them works

<steps off the soap box>
 

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I, for one, am completely shocked and dismayed. Being the season for hope and giving, I pulled my head out'a my butt so that I could see world peace. And now this. WTF? Who knew that the government lied to us? Surely not I!!!
I'm just gonna reinsert my head and wait till next year. :wave
 

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andy said:
So far I have yet to see somebody getting killed due to those leaks.
<steps off the soap box>
...I said "IF"
 

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DaveDragon said:
Part of the problem is that our government abuses the process of assigning secret status to information.
The gov has some hard and fast rules, because knowledge of what is or isn't classified may be above a person's pay grade. If it is on a classified system, it is classified, even if the information is unimportant. Joe Schmo is not qualified to determine what is and isn't classified. In theory if I put a Lady Gaga CD into my SIPRnet machine and listen to music, that CD is now classified. The people who work with classified materials are expected to take steps to protect against that information getting out, but people are human. Have to go to the bathroom? Step away from your desk to grab something from the copier? Is the information locked up, covered up, placed into a sealed container and kept hidden? It's supposed to be, but sometimes people just walk away and not realize or think they are doing something they shouldn't. After all, everyone here has a clearance, right?

DaveDragon said:
We have a very low fence around an enormous enclosure that makes leaks of this nature fairly easy to pull off.
Not sure what you mean by a very low fence or how you intend to make that fence larger. People who handle sensitive information are expected to treat it properly, and we aren't supposed to go looking for information we aren't supposed to have. However there is a certain amount of, if it is on the SIPRnet, it is safe because no one from the outside can get to it. Which ignores the fact that someone on the inside can maybe get to it and take it outside.

DaveDragon said:
If however, there were much higher fences surrounding information that was truly of the secret nature, as in actual state secrets, the process of protecting it would be much easier.

SIPRNet became the catchall and default network for the interconnection of agencies following the 9/11 interdepartmental communications discussions.

The latest information that was leaked came from a machine on the SIPRNet backbone in Iraq. The PFC in question copied the data directly to a CD and simply walked out with it.

I have a few questions:

One: why were there no hardware controls on this PC that prevented writing to external media?
Most SIPRnet machines do have that hardware control, but like everywhere else, people make mistakes. System settings get altered by accident or for other reasons not related to what it was used for. Without having more information I couldn't say what was going on here, but SIPRnet machines that can write to external media are not common.

DaveDragon said:
Two: why, when the PFC left the facility, was the validity of the media not challenged? Saying it was a Lady Gaga CD is just too easy, the low fence.
I am not searched everytime I leave work. I could be, I could be searched at anytime, my computer and telephone communications could be monitored, use of cell phones, blackberrys, cameras, satellite phones, PDA's, etc., etc. are forbidden. But I do not need to submit to a full body cavity search everytime I leave the office. Requiring such of every employee would be, well, detrimental, costly, time consuming and destructive of morale.

DaveDragon said:
Three: if SIPRNet is used for communicating secret and/or classified information, why aren't those with access to it, and its devices such as the PCs not kept under tighter scrutiny?
We are. We need to have an appropriate clearance to get access to it. We are scrutinized and re-scrutinized on a regular basis. Our friends, family and neighbors are questioned, in some cases we submit to polygraphs, I have to tell the government in advance when I intend to leave the country (forget a quick weekend get away to Canada or the Bahamas), I have to report changes in my life (such as marriages or divorces) the moment they happen, I have to report all sorts of activities and events. However, there is an aspect of the fact we are expected to follow simple rules and adhere to the oaths we swear. To keep us all under constant watch would require thousands of people watching thousands of people and who watches the watchers? You think the budget is high now, try doubling the number of people working for the feds just so you can keep an eye on everyone all the time.

DaveDragon said:
So far, the information that we know of that was leaked were simple State Department interoffice and personal communications. Not likely to cause the death of anyone, thank goodness.

The PFC is in custody and will spend the rest of his life there in all likelihood.

Wiki links, in this scenario, is protected under the First Amendment; just as the New York Times was protected when they published the Pentagon papers.

Just my two cents worth, maybe worth what you paid for it.
What to me is really disturbing is that while little ole me is scrutinized fairly heavily, political appointees aren't. So it is harder to get a clearance to clean the floors in the Pentagon, then to get a clearance to be the Under Secretary of Defense. Heck, Congressman Jack Hole gets his clearance just by being elected! Pfc nobody is going to spend life in prison for embarassing a few politicians, but Scooter Libby got a pardon for revealing a covert operatives real identity. And there are rumors, that there are stars on the wall at the CIA because of that. That is what pisses me off. Sure Pfc nobody deserves to go to jail, he violated his trust, but so does Scooter. Just my two cents.
 

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Wikileaks freedom to publish the information may be a moot point since there are now other charges against the publisher.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
DaveDragon said:
I wonder if the charges against the WL owner are real of have been conveniently created? In any event, they will place him in the hands of a government that may expose him to extradition.
The rape/assualt charges have been in the works for some time now.
 

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hoog62 said:
The rape/assualt charges have been in the works for some time now.
True, but there will be no extradition unless the Swedes really charge him. So far as I have heard all the allegations are just that, allegations and he is "wanted" to talk to to Swedish police as a "witness" But you cant be extradited because some police in podunktown would like to talk to you unless they file charges.

At the same time, I believe even the US is just saber rattling, because once he has the documents it is not espionage any more. Getting the documents out may or may not have been but the publication falls under different laws and there were/are plenty of precedence cases that ALL state that the press can publish what they have even if the power that be don't like it because they acted like idiots, no scratch that, they acted just like politicians do. Lying and backstabbing.
 

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Is the Wiki Leaks guy a US citizen? If not, the issue is moot. If so he has the same obligation to protect national security as all Americans whether they took the oath of articles of war or not.

That said, unless there is something in the published documents that put lives at risk, put the perp in Leavenworth and forget about the publisher.

If the documents were not classified Secret or higher, it's a firing offense not criminal.
 

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andy said:
True, but there will be no extradition unless the Swedes really charge him. So far as I have heard all the allegations are just that, allegations and he is "wanted" to talk to to Swedish police as a "witness" But you cant be extradited because some police in podunktown would like to talk to you unless they file charges.

At the same time, I believe even the US is just saber rattling, because once he has the documents it is not espionage any more. Getting the documents out may or may not have been but the publication falls under different laws and there were/are plenty of precedence cases that ALL state that the press can publish what they have even if the power that be don't like it because they acted like idiots, no scratch that, they acted just like politicians do. Lying and backstabbing.
I believe a European warrant has been issued for his arrest.
 

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Ya know.

Never a good idea to talk chit about someone behind their back. Sooner or later what you said, most especially if it isn't nice, will come around to haunt you. Usually at the most inconvenient time and place.

It appears this also applies to kings and government officials.

Secrets....... Sounds like they really aren't.
 

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pickerbiker said:
I believe a European warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Thats the thing: The media and the politicians SAY its a warrant, in to save their sorry asses and to look better and for whatever else reason. The fact of the matter still is that unless the Swedish authorities charge him with SOMETHING in court (which hasn't happened yet) there cannot be any warrant. Assange is still a 'person of interest' and he is on the watch list, meaning if anybody sees him they could coull interpol to tell them where he is, but that where it ends. They cannot arrest him again because there is no warrant, because there are no charges being brought. ...All political smoke and mirrors to distract from the mess they are in.
 
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