Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spies, Damn Lies, and WikiLeaks

The WikiLeaks Afghanistan docudrop is generating much more attention than the WaPo splash last week on the Top Secret Military-Intelligence-Industrial Complex...

The Washington Post has done the taxpaying citizens a favor with its big feature on the US Government intelligence and security apparatus, A Hidden World. They gathered their information from open sources, so if they’ve revealed anything, it’s the government’s fault, not the Post’s.

No Government Function Should Be Exempt From Scrutiny 
Shining a light on the bureaucracy and questioning spending and redundancy is a legitimate service to the taxpayer. It is very different from revealing specific methods and programs that end up rendering them useless and putting lives in danger.

Was it sensational? Yes. Was it sometimes inaccurate and wildly speculative? Yes! Did it demonize contractors and corporations? Hell Yes! Regardless, they are doing what the press is supposed to be doing. Now if they would just throw their dragnet over Pelosi, Barney Frank, and their serial affairs with big business, unions, and especially Fannie and Freddie.

The WaPo alleges we have a money wasting intelligence bureaucracy run amok, and that is not good, regardless of its original purpose.

Much of what they finger as malfeasance is actually legitimate activity. These are arcane areas and one-of-a-kind systems that require specialized expertise. It is often more cost-effective to contract it out.

How much fraud, waste and abuse is in there? Is it out of control?

We threw a gob of money at the defense and intelligence communities after 9/11. As anyone who has spent any time in or around government knows, government money is mad money, especially when it comes in gushing torrents.

The WaPo series was unbalanced and unfair, but it contained much verifiable truth as well. 

When Big Government fails serially and the bureaucrats and their liberal defenders cry for more Big Government, conservatives and libertarians rightly stand up in opposition. Well, we can’t give defense and intelligence a free pass.

When it comes to government, be skeptical. Be very skeptical...

Further reading on the WaPo expose:
NRO - The Corner
Salon - Why so little reaction?


Anonymous said...

Interesting watching the main stream press and both of these revelations. This is what journalism used to be - digging up facts and presenting it.

Remember the Pentagon Papers? Watergate? Great moments in American freedom.

Gosh, it turns out that the Vietnam war really was started under a false premise and just a wealth transfer to defense companies, according to new document releases. Even Sen. Al Gore Sr. realized it.

Not that I'm against killing commies - and we put down quite a few in that war.

These new leaks may be historic, like the climategate email leaks.

Mustang said...

My position is simple. I don't want to see one military person killed because of what Dana Priest and Wiki-Leaks has done. I don't want to see one covert agent murdered. And should something like that happen (as it has happened in the past), then I think Dana Priest and that faggot from Wiki-Leaks should be in fear for their lives.

Silverfiddle said...

I agree Mustang, which is why I made the distinction between wiki and WaPo.

Blowing the whistle on a wasteful bureacracy is a far cry from stealing classified information and passing it to our European enemies (yes, the wiki guy is an enemy of the US)

Ray said...

Good post and I raise your 2 "I agree's"

"The WaPo alleges we have a money wasting intelligence bureaucracy run amok, and that is not good, regardless of its original purpose."

I agree with that too SF...That's what they're job used to be before they became Obama nutscratchers.

Mark Adams said...

"Now if they would just throw their dragnet over Pelosi, Barney Frank, and their serial affairs with big business, unions, and especially Fannie and Freddie."
BINGO, Silver. Spot on target. Nice!

And I would whole heartedly agree with Mustang, I'm up for a good flogging.

Finntann said...

The WaPo articles in and of themselves, were mostly good journalism. After intially hearing about them on Fox, I must admit I was somewhat surprised. But...

I think they were somewhat misguided, in that the author failed to distinguish between intelligence and other classified programs in the article.

What I found objectionable was the interactive database. The list of companies engaged in classified work for the government in itself furthered the purpose of the article. I found the list of companies associated with operating location objectionable.

For the major multi-nationals, it's not such a big deal as in most cases they have multiple facilities in the same general area. For the medium sized corporations, and in today's contracting climate, a multitude of small businesses, it turns into somewhat of a target list. All you need is a phone book to identify the precise location.

As far as wikileaks goes, I'll be the first to admit the guy's and @hole and his actions are objectionable from a national security standpoint. But... he's not an American, and aside from being from an "allied" country, he has no legal obligation to protect American secrets provided his method of obtaining them did not violate Australian law or he did not engage in illegal activity in the US to obtain them.

You want to go after the criminals, throw the book at the @holes who are violating American law and their non-disclosure agreements in feeding information to him. The whistleblower act was designed to protect legitimate reporting of illegal activity. The vast majority of the information released through wikileaks is not "whistleblowing", but the illegal reporting of legal American government activities.

Just as each of us is guaranteed our individual privacy, we are also entitled to a collective privacy in matters of national security. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either naive, stupid, or both.


Trestin said...

I fear that this will be used to create more internet regulitory powers in the name of national security.

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