It is fitting that such extremists would serve as high-level officials in WikiLeaks, given the organization’s anti-American agenda. The organization’s recent actions are clearly designed to damage the United States, politically and operationally. The group recently released a document labeled “secret” from February 2009 that lists over 200 sites including 35 companies around the world that qualify as “critical U.S. foreign dependencies.” The document specifically says that “if [the listed sites are] destroyed, disrupted or exploited, [it] would likely have an immediate and deterious effect on the United States.”
This was a confidential list of potential top-tier targets and it is now publicly available. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies condemned the release, saying it is like a “global map—a menu, if not a recipe book—to every extremist group in the world.”
This is a case where the release of a specific document undermines the national security of the U.S., but the overall disclosures have instantly negative effects. By releasing confidential diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks deters foreign officials from talking honestly to their American counterparts and makes them wary of discussing any secret arrangements. Foreign governments will not make sensitive deals with the U.S. or even share intelligence if they are significantly worried about exposures that embarrass them or reveal methods and sources.
WikiLeaks’ disclosures also serve as anti-American propaganda. The leader, Julian Assange, has indicated he has material related to what he calls “the Garani massacre” that supposedly killed over 100 Afghan civilians, mostly children. As I previously discussed, the facts surrounding the incident provide some explanation for the civilian casualties but that is of no concern for Assange. Prior to that, WikiLeaks released a heavily edited videotape titled “Collateral Damage” that was so biased against U.S. soldiers in Iraq that left-wing comedian Stephen Colbert confronted Assange in an interview, one of the very rare moments when Colbert breaks character.
It is telling that WikiLeaks’ resources are spent against the U.S. and its allies and not against truly oppressive governments like those in Iran and China. Julian Assange has said “We have been attacked by the United States, so we are forced into a position where we must defend ourselves.” He says, “I enjoy helping people who are vulnerable. And I enjoy crushing bastards.”
To Assange, Holocaust deniers and supporters of anti-Israeli terrorism are not “bastards” that should be “crushed”—but the U.S. government and its allies are.
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