Julian Assange, the figurehead of the infamous whistle-blower organization WikiLeaks, has been rumored to be the target of an American investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act of 1917. His lawyers have suggested that a secret grand jury has convened in Alexandria, Virginia to determine that validity of the charges the US Attorney General wishes to press, and many have speculated that an announcement of indictment could come as soon as this evening.
The behavior of the Attorney General is the latest in a long line of political statements directed against Assange and the WikiLeaks organization. The release of diplomatic cables has been called tantamount to “an attack on America’s foreign policy interests…” by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the act of a “terrorist organization” by representative Peter King. Joe Lieberman has called upon Amazon to revoke support for WikiLeaks software and then praised the company after it did so, encouraging other companies to follow suit. Some have even suggested that Assange should be the target of an assassination.
And yesterday, in a furthering of the panic and confusion of the release of diplomatic dispatches and the effect it will have on American international relations, Pat Buchanan was quoted as saying on “The McLaughlin Group” that the release is an “anarchic attack on American diplomacy… by young people, very talented, [who] want to destroy America’s position and destroy America diplomacy…” He goes on to assert that the leak is the beginning of the end of American global dominance.
Regardless of one’s position on Assange or his organization, or even the release of the diplomatic cables, known colloquially as “cablegate,” it is difficult to support the argument that it will destroy the position America holds in the international political arena. While the US is certainly embarrassed by the leak and many diplomats may find a cold reception on the next visit to a foreign country for discussion, the “dominance” that Buchanan believes is ending was not forged in the fire of diplomacy, a fact undeniable to the peoples of Iraq after an invasion came that was largely devoid of diplomatic support.
The information released by WikiLeaks should not be seen as an attack on the United States. First of all, none of the information revealed, as far as we are able to tell with the information given, has been faked. Without a deliberate misdirection by the organization, it is difficult to argue that the release was done to unfairly harm America. But most importantly, the information only seems slanted deliberately against American interests because the originating source of the documents came from American infrastructure. Had the cables been leaked from any other country, the release would surely have been received as an attack on that country, even if much of the information was embarrassing to the United States and other nations.
The biggest threat to American international dominance lies in the economic troubles it has endured in recent years, and is still enduring, and the ongoing conflicts it is engaged in on two fronts overseas, which is stretching our military thin and encouraging anti-American sentiments worldwide. With some calling for a reform of the Espionage Act and encouraging additional legislature to prevent future security breaches, it seems this is lost on many of our elected leaders. I can only hope they regain focus, and leave the issue of WikiLeaks to the legal system and Mr. Holder, if there happens to be a case to build against them.Powered by Sidelines