Hacker or Supporter: WikiLeaks Scandal
WikiLeaks scandal emerged in 2010 when it released secret government documents and made them available on its Internet site (Curran and Gibson, 2013). The controversial website released thousands of documents revealing government cover-ups and secrets including the secret communication between US diplomats in different countries and their government. The release of these confidential documents has produced two opposing views on whether or not Wiki Leaks is a threat to national and international security or a supporter of human rights. Assange is a glorified hacker and threat to national and international security because his actions were an impediment to good diplomatic relations among countries thus threatening international security.
The disclosure of documents and secrets has threatened diplomatic relations between various countries including the US. Internal thoughts and opinions of several high-ranking United States officials were revealed by the website for anyone with internet access to check. Wiki leak was the largest leak of state secrets ever seen which exposed classified fields from the American military and diplomatic corps to public scrutiny (Nicks, 2012).
Wikileaks threatens national security because of the type of information it released, and how the information was released, and its access. The accessibility of secret information that was contained in the leaked documents to both state and non-state actors posed a threat to international security. Terrorists and militia groups can use the information posted to attack governments or plan attacks. The information that is posted on the website includes military intelligence and secrets. Terrorists can use such information to their advantage and thus threaten the security of the nations that differ in ideologies with terror groups. The dissemination of information through wiki leaks represents the potential magnitude of the threat of an insider attack (Akhgar and Yates, 2013).
The information that is revealed in the website may also cause conflicts between different countries thus threatening international security. The website revealed secret communications between ambassadors in different places across the world and their home countries. Secret communication between different countries has many benefits, for instance, reducing the risk of disruption, allowing talks with, for example, terrorist groups that have taken hostages. Secret communications and negotiations involve stages and outcomes; if the concessions are revealed to the public before counter-concessions, the party that is making the first concessions risks losing support at home, and appearing weak on the international stage and thus jeopardizing the party’s eventual acceptance of the terms. Secret negotiations do not provoke public expectations unlike public communications; negotiations have only to be revealed later when the affected states have achieved their goals and objectives (Nicks, 2012). The revelation of secrets between different parties by the website threatens the security of the affected states because it reveals security strategies used.
The publication of confidential material violates trust and decreases confidence that the home country has in the other country. Revelations of secrets that have been shared by a diplomat in one country to another country may lead to a diplomatic conflict between two countries. A diplomatic conflict between different states that may be brought by secret revelations threatens international security.
Assange is also a supporter of human rights because he provided a forum where human rights violations were highlighted. The most notable revelations of Assange, for instance, War, killings and torture in US Guantanamo Bay’s, US military files related to wars in Afghanistan showed violation of human rights. Assange intended to reveal to the world on how some countries violated human rights and hoped that action will be taken. Assange was against human rights violations that were committed in some places across the globe; this shows that he is a supporter of human rights.
Secrecy is necessary, as some communications and agreements, for example, negotiation with extremists always need quiet talks so as not to arouse the public. The revelation of information and decisions that have been struck behind closed doors can lead to diplomatic conflicts and thus threaten international security. Effective diplomatic practice depends on confidence which is premised on integrity, confidence and trust of the diplomat and the country in which he/she is sent to serve. Assange is a threat to international security because his actions threatened the trust and confidence of governments had on others and led to diplomatic conflicts.
Akhgar, B., & Yates, S. (2013). Strategic intelligence management: National security imperatives and information and communications technologies. Boston: Elsevier.
Curran, G., & Gibson, M. (2013). WikiLeaks, Anarchism and Technologies of Dissent. Antipode, 45(2), 294-314.
Nicks, D. (2012). Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the biggest exposure of official secrets in American history. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press.