Last night, Wikileaks released more than 91,000 classified documents related to the Afghan war, which reveal in excruciating detail the uphill battle American troops have faced in battling the Taliban and in working with Pakistani "allies" who are also helping the Afghan insurgency.
Our country needs to have a serious conversation about supposedly classified documents (under classification laws, you can't classify something to hide its illegality or to avoid embarrassment) vs. the public's right to know.
Because the Obama administration can't catch Wikileaks.org (its founder is the target of a worldwide manhunt launched by the Pentagon), it is bound and determined to make an example out of Thomas Drake, James Risen and other whistleblowers who supposedly "leaked."
What do the leaked Wikileaks documents show? See for yourself here.
The public importance of these documents clearly outweighs the embarrassment they bring to the U.S. and the futility they demonstrate of this "war."
In a nutshell, the documents reveal that Pakistan, supposedly our ally, allows its spy service (the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence) to stratagize with the Taliban and collaborate with the Afghan insurgency. Pakistani intelligence is working alongside al Qaeda to plot attacks.
Why should this cause every American an existential crisis of soul? Because we pay Pakistan more than $1 billion a year for its aid combating the militants, and Pakistan's spy agency is helping to organize network of militant groups to fight and kill American solidiers.
The knee-jerk reaction? Let's launch a world-wide manhunt against Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, and criminally charged the alleged source of the leak, Bradley Manning. Just like we are prosecuting Thomas Drake and others with supposedly leaking classified information. See the Washingtonian article on all the energy and resources President Obama is spending to plug the leaks. (Contrary to popular belief, he is NOT charged with leaking classified information to a reporter; rather, he is only charged with "retention" of classified information.)
Enough is enough is enough. When are we going to stop shooting the messenger and listen to the message?
*Pakistan's complicity with the insurgency contrasts sharply with the rosy public pronouncements of Pakistan as an ally in fighting al Qaeda.
* Thomas Drake revealed waste and illegality regarding secret surveillance and now HE is the one facing 35 years in jail under the Espionage Act.
Jesselyn Radack is the Homeland Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection organization. This article was cross-posted from her Daily Kos diary.