October 25, 2010
Over the weekend, Julian Assange, the reclusive renegade computer hacker who has made a career of unveiling government and corporate secrets on the whistle-blower website Wikileaks, confounded American policymakers for the second time in three months when he released nearly 400,000 classified field reports from the war in Iraq. In July, Wikileaks posted 90,000 classified documents describing a litany of strategic setbacks, human rights abuses and widespread corruption in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
August 20, 2012
Julian Assange, the peripatetic and elusive founder of the whistleblower web site Wikileaks, put himself at the center of a fine bit of political theater over the weekend when he used his fugitive status at the Ecuadorean embassy in London to demand the U.S. cease persecuting those who seek to hold governments accountable. Having stage managed a diplomatic crisis between Britain and Ecuador that threatens to rupture relations between the two countries, Mr. Assange is milking the incident for all it's worth, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to get him out of the jam he's in. Mr. Assange had been living in London for the last two years after fleeing Sweden to avoid being questioned about two women who claim he raped them.
December 28, 2010
WikiLeaks reminded me of one of the world's oldest jokes: What is a diplomat? A diplomat is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country. What bothers me is not that our officials sometimes tell lies for the greater benefit of the country. As a reporter in troubled places, I have sometimes had to tell lies. To enter Burma and China, I said I was a tourist. Had I said I was a reporter, I could not have gone and could not have written articles about the problems and the lives of the people I met there.
July 27, 2010
Americans have known for some time that the war in Afghanistan was not going well, and many have suspected that the situation there was much worse than the administration has been willing to publicly acknowledge. But the unauthorized release this week of some 90,000 classified military documents by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks — and their publication and analysis in The New York Times and two European newspapers — offers, for the first time, an excruciatingly detailed view of the difficulties the U.S. is facing against a formidable and determined adversary that is stronger today than at any time since the 2001 invasion that toppled the Taliban.
September 1, 2010
The legal pursuit of Wikileaks, a transnational website devoted to publishing secret government documents worldwide, is reaching a boiling point. After publishing tens of thousands of classified U.S. documents revealing details of the war in Afghanistan, the group is now promising to publish more of the same. The actions of the leaker, alleged to be U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning, are likely violations of U.S. espionage laws. Mr. Manning was already charged under the Espionage Act with the submission to Wikileaks earlier this year of a classified video showing the death of two journalists in Iraq.
November 29, 2010
The latest trove of documents released over the weekend by WikiLeaks does make for titillating reading. The cache of diplomatic cables contains juicy items of the sort usually found in gossip columns. Amid the chitchat there are a few pieces of information that illuminate important questions about American diplomacy. In particular, documents that suggest that diplomats may be crossing the line into low-level spycraft, and revelations about the degree of international concern about Iran's nuclear program, do legitimately inform the international debate.