To this day, i think this is the most effective argument against Wikileaks releases of diplomatic cables.
If diplomats are expected to reveal their diplomatic cables in the name of transparency, why dont journalist just reveal all of your sources?
Sometime secrecy is required for agents (of government and others) to be effective. Imagine how difficult and messy it would have been to agree on a version of US constitution, if constitution convention could not convene in secret?
I agree that secrecy greatly increase the effectiveness of government, in some area of their operation, especially in the case of diplomatic negotiation. However this kind of secrecy require a certain level of trust in US government to not screw around. Sadly the US government did screw around with the trust of its people when the military charge into the Iraq in 2003 on false pretenses; when Dick Cheney insist on non-existence Iraq and Al-queda relationship, when Colin Power walk in the the Security Council of United Nation with bogus WMD evidence against Iraq; when George Bush accuse Iraq of purchasing yellow cakes in the State of Union address base on forged evident from Italian military intelligence (presumably through diplomatic cables…)
Government do screw up, and usually it is up to the press to check them on it. Sadly there was little consequential scrutiny of US government’s rational for war.Wikileaks is the direct response to the diminished legitimacy of US government and traditional press organization.
I first heard this argument against the diplomatic leak from Frontline press conference. Video below, starts at 3:35.
First Wednesday: WikiLeaks – The US embassy cables
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