Background: WikiLeaks is a whistleblowing website directed by Australian journalist Julian Assange. It was launched into the public eye for the first time recently after publishing footage which depicted American soldiers firing upon Iraqi civilians and journalists. Since then, the site has gained notoriety for its Afghan War Diaries series, Iraq War Logs, and, most recently, its planned release of over 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables. Those supporting the website say that it promotes informed citizens and upholds the ideas of freedom of the press and government transparency and accountability. Nonetheless, the US government condemns the website and attacks Assange for criminal activities and endangering national security.
- With the growth of the Internet Age, people are becoming more involved in their government and thus feel a desire to be more informed. After the Freedom of Information act and other transparency measures, the WikiLeaks incident was the next logical step.
- Greater government transparency promotes political discourse and reevaluation of policies.
- WikiLeaks-like organizations have been present throughout history, from muckrakers to watchdog and investigative journalists. WikiLeaks is thereby protected by freedom of the press.
- WikiLeaks’s lack of discretion about publishing documents puts national security and defense at risk.
- Because many diplomatic cables contained sensitive information, international relations could be strained by the release of secret or classified cables.
- Julian Assange has developed a reputation for being an “information terrorist,” because the release could lead to people getting killed. Thus, Assange should be prosecuted as an enemy combatant, not an innocent journalist.
– TED (http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_assange_why_the_world_needs_wikileaks.html)
– CQ Researcher (http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/getpdf.php?file=cqr20110211C.pdf)
– The Hill (http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/132037-gingrich-blames-obama-on-wikileaks-labels-assange-a-terrorist)