Obama Crafts New Anti-WikiLeaks Law

From Secrecy News:

The Obama Administration is putting the finishing touches on a new executive order that is intended to improve the security of classified information in government computer networks as part of the government’s response to WikiLeaks.

The order is supposed to reduce the feasibility and the likelihood of the sort of unauthorized releases of classified U.S. government information that have been published by WikiLeaks in the past year.

[…] the order establishes new mechanisms for “governance” and continuing development of security policies for information systems.  Among other things, it builds upon the framework established — but not fully implemented — by the 1990 National Security Directive 42 (pdf)…

As far as anybody can tell, the release of the classified material by Wikileaks, despite the hyperbolic haranguing about Assange being a terrorist and about leaked documents harming our national security, has done no measurable harm to any individuals in the U.S. government. Nor is any damage to the safety and security of Americans as a whole at all perceivable. What the leaks have done is to give Americans a better idea of what their government does in their name. It’s possible even, as some have argued, that they’ve done much more good than just that. But sticking to the dangerous national security threat these leaks were promised to present by the apologists for shadow government, not even the government itself has pointed to any specific occurrences of danger or threats to safety or national security. Not even the Obama administration has made that charge.

So why craft an executive order specifically with the purpose of preventing the release of government secrets which have been shown to be safely made public? We have the benefit of an experiment in releasing classified information, and – at least in the hundreds of thousands of documents released by Wikileaks – it has been shown to be legitimate public information and have no danger to national security. Yet the Obama administration is crafting a law to prevent these from ever being released again. They want to hide the business of government from the American people. We are to be spectators merely of the partisan show put on by PR consultants for public consumption. What the government is actually up to…that’s none of our business.

And there is still a very long way to go, since in 2010 there were 76 million classification decisions. And again, it is now terribly trite to say, but this is the kind of thing stands in sharp contrast to all that we were promised by Barack Obama about open government and transparency. The sad thing is, those same gullible fools who fell for it in 2008, are almost guaranteed to fall for it again in 2012.

  • Brian

    Let's play devil's advocate for a moment. If the act of releasing the documents was some kind of felony, and led to the arrest and eventually (we hope) trial of Bradley Manning, what exactly needs to be done? Are they going to make the act more illegal? (I'm tempted to say "illegaler".)

    Supposedly 10% of the US population theoretically had access to the same stuff Manning had. The trouble is that in an information society, you need the flow of information just to keep going or everything grinds to a slow pace and then a halt. The flip side is you can't have free information without people knowing what you don't want them to know. It's really that simple. Democracy or despotism, you decide.

    • Brian,

      Well, that's the contradiction that's collapsing: You can't have an information society and opaque governance.

      Obama campaigned for transparency in 2008. Now he's willing to dial us back half a century — if he can — rather than fulfill that promise.

    • Jaylemeux

      I challenge the notion that 10% of the US population theoretically had access to the WarLogs and the Cables. On what basis are you making that claim?

    • toyotabedzrock

      It's just another form of elitists thinking that the public cannot understand the information.

      I'd just like to ask who else would you vote for in 2012?

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  • Shrug

    Pfffft.. the more they lock down, the craftier people become.

  • No Brian, that is a logical fallacy (false dilemma). Democracy or despotism…. sheesh.

    And aside from illogical reasoning, shame on you for your Schadenfreude (wishing ill on Bradley Manning). Remember that the Founding Fathers of the US were ALL traitorous scum in the eyes of the King, with only a third of the Colonists supporting the rebels.

    Three illegal wars going on (Iraq for oil; Afghanistan for overland trade routes and heroine; Libya for its wonderful light sweet crude that is 3-to-1 more productive than Saudi oil). I suggest you read Bucky Fuller's "Critical Path" written in 1980 in which he warns his readers to ignore all government claptrap for their motives to eventually invade Iraq and Afghanistan. Hey, I've got friends in the military from East to West in all the services and they're risking their lives so the Man (military-industrial complex, IMF/World Bank) can keep the commoner down, all in secrecy, mind you. We must not forget to mention the hundreds of thousands massacred in the name of democracy (remember Viet Nam too!)

    And guess what? Next we can sponsor the Turks in invading Syria, all with your tax dollars (if you pay any). Let's see how you'd change your tune if the bombs were falling on your head (or those of your friends and family).

    There is but one world and we need to get along. Not only is it more productive to work together but it's better for everyone's health in this age of WMDs and nukes.

  • Jamie N

    The American tax payers have a constitutional right to now whats being done in there name with there money.Obama lied his way to becoming the president and is even worse than Bush.If Ron Paul don't become president Isee the next one being even worse.Americans need to realize how important it is to elect ron paul.The constitution may not be perfect but gives the people power that keeps being taken from them from each secseeding President and there criminal cabnit.How can the American citizens if smart vote for someone that lied and did nothing he promised.And as far as voting for anyone but DR Paul is also stupid they are lieing and saying things hes been saying for many years.The last election they lauphed at him and his ideas now they are copying him with no intension of following the thing they are copying.They are all corrupt and are lieing just like Bush and Obama did.Wake up.

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  • John McCormick

    Is the real endgame to net the entire world in the bondage of debt peonage? Is the real enemy the monetary system itself? Is it time to return to the greenback system? Why do we pay interest on our own money? Why are we attacking Libya? Why do we not see the horror of this new war? Does it have more to do with Libya's central African banks than it does with sweet crude?

  • Hobbs77

    "The sad thing is, those same gullible fools who fell for it in 2008, are almost guaranteed to fall for it again in 2012."…so,you are saying that it doesn't matter who is President????…and that a republican administration wouldn't be any worse????…or maybe you know of some viable progressive leader who can save the day????

    • LibertyRising

      The ONLY candidate who would stop this madness would be Ron Paul. Yes, a Republican administration – under Perry, Bachmann, Palin, Romney – would be worse.

      That's the nature of the beast: each administration takes the gains for tyranny by the previous administration and extends them even further. Which party doesn't matter because the same establishment power structure controls them both.

      Even most of the supposedly-revolutionary "tea party" activists don't have a clue. Ron Paul is getting no support from the loosely-defined leadership of that bunch. So, yes, gullible fools is a pretty apt term.

      • Molly

        While Ron Paul isn't getting support from party leadership, he is definitely getting noticed by the people. Whatever worth you put into straw polls, his second place finish speaks well of his chances, should the media choose to mention it.

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  • This law is a result of a natural order of things. WikiLeaks is too provocative, even for USA's democra?y…

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  • But this is just splitting hairs. The underlying reality is that if some past President of the United States had handed over, say, Maine to Canada on a whim a?? as Nikita Khrushchev handed Crimea over to Ukraine in 1953 a?? would anyone in the US dispute the results of a referendum reintegrating it back into the Union?