The Monumental Stupidity of WackyLeaks

@daveweigel Alas, Leslie Nielsen will never get to star in my comedy about a bunch of bumbling anti-war hackers, WackyLeaks. #toosoon

Michael Ledeen of Pajamas Media is old and wise enough to have his laughs while he can about WackyLeaks, quoting Kissinger: “the only reason to write a memo is to have it leaked.” But again, still wise enough to note:

Second, the leakers should be punished violently. It has to be possible for our leaders to talk privately, both among themselves and with foreigners. If it’s all going to be leaked, candor will vanish and we will be locked into a wilderness of mirrors.

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg notes James Rubin of TNR noting that, while some leaks are laudable (his and my valuation differ greatly):

… The essential tool of State Department diplomacy is trust between American officials and their foreign counterparts. Unlike the Pentagon which has military forces, or the Treasury Department which has financial tools, the State Department functions mainly by winning the trust of foreign officials, sharing information, and persuading… Destroying confidentiality means destroying diplomacy…

The Wikileaks document dump, unlike the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s, shows that American private communication with foreign leaders by and large reflects the same sentiments offered by U.S. officials in public… The big hypocrisies here are not being perpetrated by Americans; they are being perpetrated by foreign governments, namely non-democratic ones… The hard left, so quick to demand that America accept other countries’ political systems, now seems blind to the fact that other governments want to have the right to say one thing in public and a different thing in private. By respecting that difference, American diplomats are doing their job.

Important to the Left, certainly. But why did Ledeen recommend punishment? Heather Hurlburt notes (I have greatly condensed, please read the article for the meat of it):

  • Fear of candor in diplomacy,
  • Middle Eastern officials are already getting more skittish about cooperating with America and the West,
  • Even Russia, an infamously hard case, is getting worse,
  • Historical document preservation is damaged,
  • The anti-paranoia movement for classified documents is damaged,
  • Again, the military is undamaged, but the diplomatic corps is pierced in its internals.