Posted tagged ‘wikileaks’

What Is The Nature Of “Confidential” Emails?

July 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email account to conduct State Department official business may represent poor judgement, outright carelessness, or avoidance of government records requirements, but past experience can assure us, actual national security was way down the list.

Reporting has frequently mentioned Hillary’s “carelessness” and a number of GOP leaders are ludicrously calling for a ban on Clinton access to confidential briefings once she is the Democrat nominee. Do these people have any idea of what the emails contained? Hmmm.

As FBI Director Comey said in his Congressional testimony, any confidential information in Clinton’s possession was part of a email string, that is a “confidential information containing email” was forwarded several times, with each person commenting upon some aspect of the subject.

Even the original “confidential” matter was a reproduction of some portion of an official confidential State Department cable, and was not the official cable. Hmmm.

Now few would argue that State secrets like nuclear warhead details, planned troop movements, or the readiness of our armed forces should be classified information. Classified information, however, includes much more, even as simple as the anonymity of the sender, or gossip about other foreign leaders. Hmmm.

And think back to the “W” years when Dick Cheney would declassify information in time for lunch if he thought the information might be beneficial to his political causes. Hmmm.

Confidential information comes in all shapes and sizes.

The Wikileaks disclosures, for example, made possible by Pvt Bradley Manning, reveals two interesting points. (1) Leaked information can be embarrassing (both to the subject and to the author), and (2) once revealed, the information often just confirms what has already been written in news media sources. Hmmm.

It is time to get a grip on our national sense of judgement. Hillary Clinton and her aides were doing the job of a Secretary of State. There is no indication that Clinton was stashing the confidential information for a later “tell all” book. And Clinton’s actions did not lead to any massive leak of confidential information.

Recent political leaders’ statements of grave concern and astonishment that Hillary Clinton used her own email server amount, in reality, to gross hypocrisy at the best or a huge disservice (to Americans) by implying the nations safety hinged upon ultimate safe handling of every piece of confidential information.

Trojan Leaks

December 1, 2010

The current episode with “Wikileaks” has generated a lot of press coverage.  Today I heard an historian’s point of view.  He  marveled at the good fortune to have so much background information on present events.  This could be a win-win.  The public gets information, and nothing seems to have emerged that will lead to a governments collapse.  So why the great concerns by the US government?

The publication of these diplomatic cables has shown

  • Too much is classified.  This leads to government laziness and arrogance.  The public will be very skeptical the next time the government tries to suppress documents under the claim of the document are classified.
  • Bureaucrats react to revelations in unproductive manners.  The State Departments first action since these leaks were published was to cut off computer connections with other US departments.  Sharing of information was implemented following 9/11 in order to minimize the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing.  The real issue here is that information can be transmit out of the system.

Some officials claim that foreign leaders will no longer reveal their opinions to US diplomates since they cannot trust that their words will remain confidential.  I doubt that will happen since most of the information in these communication was reported in other sources already.

What should not be overlooked however is the US has great concern about cyber warfare and how to defend against it.  In this case, the leak appears to have occurred from a human Trojan Horse, and that may prove much more difficult to control.



Leak or Leaks?

July 26, 2010

Today’s newspapers are telling Americans that the war in Afghanistan is going poorly and that the Pakistanis have not always been our ally. These reports are based upon “leaked” electronic correspondence, mostly from lower level military members and all “unclassified”. The White House is aghast and has uttered the words “someone could be killed or injured because of these leaks. Hmmm.

It should be a surprise to only those who have slept for the last 8 years. Instead of exiting after the fall of the Taliban Government, the US decided to stay. Nation building would eliminate the chance of the Taliban coming back we were told. The Bush Administrations dismal execution wasted 6 years and now President Obama is into his second year with just as many doubts about the future.

President Obama should view this leak as a blessing and use it to pivot. Military force is too blunt a weapon for Afghanistan and country building is too expensive for one country to afford. The US needs a new policy on Afghanistan, one that does not trade US soldier’s lives for vanishing gains in pacification. The US needs to recognize that the Taliban represent the same threat to most other countries (if a threat exists) and steps to mitigate should come from wallets of at least the G-8, if not the G-20.