Loose Lips Sink Ships
I am somewhat torn concerning Wikileaks. On one hand, I am an advocate of the free flow of information and the elucidation it provides. But on the other hand, I am a stickler for loyalty, and releasing thousands of confidential documents to an international audience is deplorable.
Just a brief background on the issue: Wikileaks is an organization which serves as an outlet to government insiders to release documents which would otherwise never see the light of day. Earlier this year, Wikileaks released almost 92,000 pages of classified documents concerning the Afghanistan War. More recently, Wikileaks leaked 250,000 classified diplomatic cables between various U.S. embassies and Washington, D.C. Recently (and seemingly* coincidentally) the editor in chief of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, was arrested in the United Kingdom pursuant to a warrant for extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual offenses. Assange refused to consent to the extradition, and a court in the U.K. denied bail. In response, other people affiliated with Wikileaks threatened to release all of the remaining diplomatic cables, which have thus far only slowly been made public after editors redact the names of persons who could come to harm if their names were released.
It would be one thing if the leaked documents uncovered some sort of deception of the American people, like the pentagon papers did, but these documents seem to be leaked merely for the sake of leaking documents. For example, one document reveals a list of potential terrorist targets around the world which could impact the United States. Revealing such information does not show impropriety on the part of the Government, but rather simply undermines its effort to keep our country safe.
I am curious about people’s thoughts on this issue. Specifically, how harshly should the persons who leaked the documents to Wikileaks be punished (if at all)? Does this rise to the level of treason (18 U.S.C. § 2381)? Or, conversely, do you think that the people leaking these documents are heroes?