December 7th, 2010
12:20 PM ET

Opinion: Who's to blame for damage from WikiLeaks?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/07/t1.afpgetty_wikileaks.jpg width=300 height=169]Editor's note:Gen. Michael V. Hayden was appointed by President George W. Bush as CIA director in 2006 and served until February 2009. The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Michael V. Hayden.

Michael V. Hayden
Special to CNN

As the dust begins to settle on "Wiki Dump III," some realities seem to be settling into the popular discourse and the public consciousness.

For example, it appears that American diplomats, like their military counterparts, are a dedicated and hard-working lot. Their reporting is well-written, incisive and occasionally even humorous.

What our government says to itself privately seems remarkably consistent with what it says to others (and to us) publicly.

If anything, the private conversations of diplomats and security professionals paint a world even more dangerous than the one we usually allow ourselves to describe publicly. And there seems to be more consistency with this American worldview on the part of our friends and allies than is generally admitted. Quite an exposé

Now what will this and the previous dumps cost us? With a certainty approaching 1.0, it will cost us sources. Some described in previous releases will be killed. Others, like those who described the inner workings of the formation of the German government, will simply refuse to talk to Americans.

It will cost us cooperation with potential partners. How much purchase will any future American promise of confidentiality or discretion have for someone who might consider cooperating with us?


Filed under: 360° Radar • Opinion
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. William of Iowa

    We the people are to blame. We are becoming a society of voyeurs who lust for dirt. Government officials, celebrities, anyone who can be exposed. As long as individuals such as Assange profit from their deeds, Wikileaks and other like minded forums will continue to thrive and threaten relationships and lives.

    December 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  2. Randy

    To me this brings up a much bigger issue in the grand scheme of things. I have heard some people actually defend Wikileaks claiming freedom of speech. I think we can say with certainity that is not what the framers of the Constitution meant but the first amendment has been completely demolished. When people's lives can be destroyed or are placed in danger, that is not what is meant by freedom of speech. The same goes for libel, harrassment and so forth. That is why there needs to be some internet laws and while I don't favor big government, there are times when they are needed.

    Wikileaks is a serious threat to this country, but then again so is the threat of cyberbullying and that sort of thing. All one has to do is look at a site like Topix for example who don't police their forums and people get threatened all the time yet the media seems to ignore that.

    December 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  3. Walcott

    Majority of people want to know the truth, history tells us of numerous injustices done to people defending and fighting for the truth. A lot of them where outlawed at first then became heroes and herons because of the truth… when will we learn? Why does the truth hurt so much? If we conducted ourselves in the professional and proper manner being respectful to others with a conscience for the truth and transparency we would have nothing to fear. For a President who vowed transparency, should he not defend the truth? I hope and pray that this does not become another terrorist group, as more and more people jump on this band wagon!

    December 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  4. Sara

    WikiLeaks is right, We The People have the right to know what our government is doing, reasons why they do them, and to acknowledge any wrongdoing by our representatives. WikiLeaks founder, in my opinion, isn't a traitor or terrorist. He's a person who is providing us information that We The People should be aware of. The government is threatened by WikiLeaks simply because We The People are knowing too much of what they're doing or should we say, What they shouldn't be doing. That's why he's such a threat plus the word whistleblower is a bad word in Washington.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:53 pm |