This Christmas, give the gift of...secret diplomatic cables?
There were several surprisingly slanted articles in the Holiday edition of “T,” the New York Times style magazine published 15 Sundays a year and put together by writers and reporters from outside the paper. Most newsworthy (if almost as shallow as the other pieces) was British writer Misha Glenny’s profile of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (arrested in a sex inquiry in London Tuesday morning), presenting his damaging, illegal leaks of secret diplomatic cables as a Christmas gift, treating the controversial figure as just another one of the hip icons celebrated in T Magazine in a story with the galling title “The Gift of Information.”
A former ambassador to Afghanistan said Sunday that revelations in Bob Woodward's book "Obama's Wars" were "far more damaging" to U.S.-Afghani relations than what recently was released by WikiLeaks.
Speaking to Christiane Amanpour on the Roundtable segment of ABC's "This Week," the following statement by Zalmay Khalilzad is sure to raise some eyebrows in our nation's capital (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Time magazine's managing editor said Sunday with respect to the decision to publish intelligence information recently exposed by WikiLeaks, "Our job is not to protect the U.S."
Chatting with Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Richard Stengel claimed that irrespective of the harm these released documents did to America's national security, "Our job is to publish and be damned" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CNN's Larry King provided more proof that his network does indeed "play favorites," contrary to the claim of their recent ad, by bringing on three liberals on his program on Monday to discuss WikiLeaks' latest document release. Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers infamy praised Julian Assange as a "truth-teller," while Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone defended the website.
Former Clinton administration official James Rubin joined Ellsberg and Hastings for a panel discussion during the first half hour of King's 9 pm Eastern hour program. The outgoing host turned to Ellsberg first and asked as his second question, "Knowing how you release things, what should not be reported?"
The Vietnam-era hero of the left referenced a more recent cause celebre of his ideological peers in his answer and mouthed their talking point on it:
Instead of leading with how Army Private First Class Bradley Manning may have jeopardized national security with his document dump to WikiLeaks, NBC's chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, in his profile of Manning on Tuesday's Today show, told viewers he was the "most unlikely suspect, with a youthful smile" and portrayed him as an abused victim of the military. Miklaszewski used the New York Times' Ginger Thompson in his report to tell the tale of young man who apparently decided to avenge the abuse he had taken over the years, dating back to high school, by selling out his country.
Before throwing to soundbites from Thompson, Miklaszewski teased that the New York Times reporter "profiled Manning and found that as a young man he was an outcast who tried desperately to fit in." Thompson then went on to reveal that Manning "was teased all the time in elementary school for being a geek" and was beaten up in high school for "because kids figured out that he was gay." After Miklaszewski added that the abuse continued when he joined the Army, noting "once in the military, he quickly became a target," he aired another clip of Thompson claiming "As a gay man in the military, he was, you know, he was outcast and he was, you know, teased and harassed."
On Monday's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer downplayed the criminal factor in the release of hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic communiques by WikiLeaks, twice labeling the website as only a "messenger" for the documents. Both Lauer and NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell insisted the State Department "crossed a line" by ordering diplomats to spy on foreign diplomats at the United Nations.
The NBC anchor interviewed Republican Congressman Peter King seven minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour on this latest release of confidential documents by WikiLeaks. Midway through the segment, Lauer raised the espionage issue: "Were you surprised to hear that Secretary of State Clinton and her predecessor, Secretary of State Rice, asked their diplomats to, in effect, spy on diplomats at the United Nations, asking for things like credit card numbers, computer passwords, DNA, fingerprints? This does cross a line, doesn't it?"
The New York Times has taken an admirable stand on the potentially-criminal release of diplomatic cables by the online "whistleblowers" at WikiLeaks. Said one Times reporter: "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."
Oh, wait. That wasn't in reference to the WikiLeaks documents. That was the Times's former environmental blogger Andy Revkin discussing the so-called ClimateGate emails. The Times has, in fact, posted a number of American diplomatic documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks, and containing massive amounts of sensitive diplomatic communications.
And so we get another glimpse of the amazing depths of the Gray Lady's hypocrisy.
Not that it justifies the horrible consequences of leaking classifed information, thereby endangering our troops, our allies, our friends, and their families (of course it doesn't), but the WikiLeaked documents being carried at outlets like the New York Times are revealing some truths that are proving quite inconvenient for Iraq war opponents.
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that a post at one of Wired.com's blogs ("WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results") rnoted that "for years afterward, WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins, and uncover weapons of mass destruction." Add that to the already large pile of evidence that totally debunks the leftist folklore that "there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
Now Andrew Bolt at Melbourne, Australia's Herald-Sun (HT Instapundit) tells us that another leftist myth about the war's impact on Iraq's general populace is getting retired to the ash heap of false history (links are in original):
Julian Assange, the man that feels comfortable disclosing America's military secrets at WikiLeaks, walked out of a CNN International interview Sunday because he didn't want to answer questions about his relationship with his employees or the accusations of rape and molestation involving two Swedish women.
When CNN's Atika Shubert continued to press Assange on these issues, he removed his microphone and walked out (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
On Monday's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer opened the show suggesting that Julian Assange was was being smeared by the Pentagon as the Today co-anchor teased: "And payback? The founder of WikiLeaks, the Web site that leaked classified war documents, briefly named in a rape case in Sweden. He says he's innocent. Those charges have been dropped and now he suggests it's all part of a Pentagon smear campaign today, Monday, August 23rd, 2010." However the Today show, never offered any evidence, other than Assange's claim, that the Pentagon was behind any of the charges.
NBC's Ann Curry, in introducing a Martin Fletcher story on Assange, posited: "Is the Pentagon targeting the founder of WikiLeaks for posting thousands of war documents online?" And while the the story did did air a clip of retired UK Colonel Richard Kemp blasting Assange for releasing the classified documents, Fletcher never presented any proof that the Pentagon was behind some sort of smear campaign.
If Anne Applebaum is to be believed, the existence of primary sources is in and of itself the reason the dead-trees should be kept around. She writes for Slate:
I didn't think it was possible, but Julian Assange has now done it: By releasing 92,000 documents full of Afghanistan intelligence onto the laptops of an unsuspecting public, the founder of Wikileaks has finally made an ironclad case for the mainstream media. If you were under the impression that we don't need news organizations, editors, or reporters with more than 10 minutes' experience anymore, then think again. The notion that the Internet can replace traditional news-gathering has just been revealed to be a myth.
Ironically, that passage shows one of the key problems with the mainstream media: they don't know anything. The Afghanistan documents collected by Wikileaks are not "intelligence," but field reports from regular combat units and special forces. Also, the notion that Wikileaks is some kind of news organization when it is really an online repository of documents-i.e. sources instead of reportage-shows the kind of unfamiliarity with basic facts that people like Applebaum, in the mainstream media, wrongly attribute to Wikipedia and ignore in themselves.
Missed? Perhaps, but this story of complacency by President Barack Obama's administration has certainly been under-reported thus far.
On Fox News Channel's July 28 broadcast of "Studio B," the network's judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano discovered a potential lapse in responsibility by the Obama White House. For the broadcast of his July 31 Fox Business Network show "FreedomWatch," Napolitano interviewed Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.org, the so-called "whistleblower site" which released tens of thousands of classified files about the Afghanistan war. During the interview, Napolitano reported Assange revealed he offered the Obama White House the documents, but they were unresponsive. (h/t @CrabbyCon)
"STUDIO B" HOST SHEPARD SMITH: You just interviewed Julian Assange. Now Julian Assange is the man who is the founder of WikiLeaks - released these, or on his site was released the 92,000 pages of documents that lead to all this discussion about our complete failures in Afghanistan and thoughts that we need to get out of Afghanistan. He told you something that I considered to be a blockbuster bit of news. NAPOLITANO: And that is that WikiLeaks presented the documents - there were over 100,000 pages of them, to the White House. SMITH: When? NAPOLITANO: Weeks before they were released. He wouldn't give me an exact date.
So as you know, Wikileaks has posted a crapload of secret military reports about the Afghan war, including covert operations against Taliban figures. They claim their goal is to reveal “unethical behavior,” by the government and corporations.
On their website they write “All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people.”
This is pure bullpoop, to use the scientific term.
The fact is, their goal is to only “expose” people they don’t like – meaning the United States military – and get worldwide props for it.