America’s WikiLeaks Outbreak: Where’s the Vaccine?

Why the Controversial Website’s Latest “Classified” Cables are More Gossip than Information


This may look like a serious website, but it serves the same purpose as the published entries of a girl’s diary. ( Courtesy of

Published: December 09, 2010

Despite most college students like myself, I frankly do not believe I am entitled to know everything my government is up to. Yes, we should have journalists stationed in Washington and around the world keeping tabs on our elected officials, but when we start airing the tiniest details of their dirty laundry, I think we forget why we began investigating in the first place.

Consider the newest WikiLeaks outbreak. Founded by the Australian Julian Assange, WikiLeaks is the perfect example of free speech going too far. Assange’s latest revelation is a slew of U.S. cables that reveal secret and classified information regarding this country’s foreign affairs.

Anyone who thinks Assange released this information for the greater good is ignoring the fact that all these documents do is hurt the United States government’s credibility with other foreign powers. If there is no secrecy allowed in government, what kind of work can really get done? Who is going to step forward with important information if their anonymity is not ensured?

Journalists had already let us know much of the information revealed in the leaks, such as Saudi Arabia’s less than warm feelings toward Iran. Big deal, Mr. Assange. However, Assange and his comrade, Pfc. Bradley Manning, the daredevil behind these document downloads, felt we needed to know King Abdullah’s personal opinion of Iran and his endearing nickname for it, “the snake.”

It’s as if Manning successfully discovered the U.S.’s diary and made copies of it for everyone on the playground. He might as well be “Mean Girls’s” Regina George flinging copies of the Plastics’ Burn Book all over North Shore High’s hallways. The information seems fun and interesting, but it amounts to little more than gossip that doesn’t do much to increase citizens’ awareness and only hurts U.S. relations overseas. Who’s going to want to work with us now?

I bet oodles of us have said or written something nasty about someone in our lives. (If you haven’t, congrats, go join Mother Teresa.) We’d have a hard time getting any more friends if everything we’ve said about people was known world round, and that’s exactly where the U.S. is now.

That isn’t to say I’m not at least disturbed by some of what these leaks have revealed. There actually is a lot of information in these cables that amount to more than just what a little girl likes to write in her diary. So how the heck did the 22-year-old Manning get away with downloading such information in over 200,000 government cables?

In the words of Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, REALLY? US Intelligence, you mean to tell me that after years of decoding messages and breaking into other countries’ classified information, you couldn’t figure out a way to protect yours from a 22 year old? Really? Manning may have been an intelligence analyst himself, but you’d think that maybe a little red flag would have gone up when he started clicking “download” every two seconds. In this case, I will say shame on you, government leaders.

Manning claims he was frustrated with military intelligence. Well, when I’m upset, I usually try counting to 10 first. I don’t steal three years worth of government intelligence and then publish it for the world to see.

Since Manning is also only 22 years old, I wonder how much of the military world he has actually experienced. If he were a 40-year veteran, then, sure, I might take his word for it that U.S. military operations aren’t perfect, but how long could he have really been in the military to earn the right to make such an attack against them?

And I don’t know about Manning, but when I commit to something and swear an oath to honor my country, I’m not going to turn around and steal private information I’ve been entrusted with. Does he think he’s helping the “people” by leaking these articles? The people sure won’t be helped if their home country looks like an idiot to the rest of the world.

Some may claim that we have a right to know all the information Manning has revealed, but I ask, at what cost? The government knows far more about the world and political partnerships than we could ever imagine. The average U.S. citizen is not privy to that sort of information and with good reason. It is the job of our government leaders to understand foreign policy, and we should let them do their jobs.

I’m not saying we should be ignorant, but we shouldn’t arrogantly think we have the right to know everything either. This latest WikiLeak revelation is a step too far. If the government feels like someone is constantly going to be standing over their shoulder, a lot less is going to get done in Washington, and that’s a nightmare I’m sad to say has already begun.