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Is WikiLeaks Bad?

Is WikiLeaks bad? To be fair, no actual case of anyone being negatively affected by  WikiLeaks has been brought to the world’s attention, just a lot of a “what if” and “this could happen cases.” So what is actually so bad about WikiLeaks? According to the State Department, “These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.” Crowley said the release of confidential communications about foreign governments probably will erode trust in the United States as a diplomatic partner and could cause embarrassment if the files should include derogatory or critical comments about friendly foreign leaders. “When this confidence is betrayed and ends up on the front pages of newspapers or lead stories on television or radio, it has an impact,” Crowley said. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/24/national/main7086416.shtml

There is no question that creating nervous governments isn’t bad, but is it illegal. Since WikiLeaks has caused no reported harm to date, is the website illegal? WikiLeaks protects itself in the United States with the first amendment, under freedom of speech and freedom of press, and several Supreme Court cases have previously established that the American constitution protects the re-publication of illegally gained information provided the publishers did not themselves break any laws in acquiring it. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=001/llsl001.db&recNum=144 This argument stands, but the United States government has a different standpoint with the release of Afghan War documents.  It is looking to charge the WikiLeaks founder with noncompliance of the Espionage Act of 1917 which prohibits any attempt to interfere with military operations, to support America’s enemies during wartime, to promote insubordination in the military, or to interfere with military recruitment. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sup_01_18_10_I_20_37.html All things that the release of the War documents seem to have accomplished.

For more information on the United States Government’s perspective on WikiLeaks please click here; http://belkow.wordpress.com/ .

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