Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sarah Palin Takes on the Obama Administration over WikiLeaks

Cubachi provides the political backdrop for today's dose of WikiLeaks news. Here's her take on Ambassador John Bolton, Sarah Palin, and Representative Peter King:
Former Ambassador John Bolton on Fox News this morning said the release of confidential material via WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange an “anti-American organization” and successful in damaging our reputation and trust among our allies. Anything they confide in us, is no longer confidential.


Bolton is not the only conservative outraged by these leaks. Sarah Palin astutely informs us how nonsensical it is for the US government to not pursue prosecution for those behind the Wikileaks release of this confidential information. As you may recall, Palin brought the website Gawker to court and won her case against the website for publishing excerpts of her book without permission. So what is this government waiting for when it comes to WikiLeaks?

Rep. Peter King called this information release worse than a physical attack. He called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute Julian Assange under the Espionage Act.

“This is worse even than a physical attack on Americans, it’s worse than a military attack.”

“By doing that we will be able to seize their funds and go after anyone who provides them with any help or contributions or assistance whatsoever. The Attorney General and I don’t always agree on different issues. But I believe on this one, he and I strongly agree that there should be a criminal prosecution.”

I am not holding my breath. This is the third or fourth time WikiLeaks has released confidential material in a two-year span. And has this government done anything previously? Sure this information is not a surprise, but as Ambassador Bolton pointed out, this is just another blatant evidence of an administration that has turned a blind eye to foreign affairs.
The post from Sarah Palin is interesting because she's become such a lightning rod. We'll come back to her post in a minute. First, I want to consider what else we learned on Monday.

In particular, we learned that Julian Assange's next mark is corporate America. In an article titled WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Wants To Spill Your Corporate Secrets in Forbes:
In a rare interview, Assange tells Forbes that the release of Pentagon and State Department documents are just the beginning. His next target: big business.

Early next year, Julian Assange says, a major American bank will suddenly find itself turned inside out. Tens of thousands of its internal documents will be exposed on Wikileaks.org with no polite requests for executives’ response or other forewarnings. The data dump will lay bare the finance firm’s secrets on the Web for every customer, every competitor, every regulator to examine and pass judgment on.
Assange is rapidly running out of friends in America. One wonders if any of the countries that might grant him asylum could actually facilitate his protection.

He's taken on the American military and State Department. Those two parts of government are designed to disagree on everything, but Assange has managed to bring them together. Now he wants to go after corporate America.

That's the wrong move.

Let's return to Sarah Palin for a second. In a post on Facebook, she raises Serious Questions about the Obama Administration's Incompetence in the Wikileaks Fiasco:
What if any diplomatic pressure was brought to bear on NATO, EU, and other allies to disrupt Wikileaks’ technical infrastructure? Did we use all the cyber tools at our disposal to permanently dismantle Wikileaks? Were individuals working for Wikileaks on these document leaks investigated? Shouldn’t they at least have had their financial assets frozen just as we do to individuals who provide material support for terrorist organizations?
As I wrote in my first post on the WikiLeaks document dump: "if you were genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from WikiLeaks, you would ask Congress to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal so that enterprising American hackers could destroy WikiLeaks.org."

In the late 1700s when the Constitution was written, piracy on the high seas was still relatively common. Letters of Marque and Reprisal were one mechanism for dealing with it. Ships that were issued Letters of Marque were often called privateers. There mission was to hunt down pirates and bring them to justice... Well, not actual justice. The problem then (as with Julian Assange) was that piracy often occurred outside of any legal jurisdiction, so adjudicating the crime could be tricky.

By going after banks, Julian Assange has guaranteed that the people who hate him will be well financed. Banks also have a lot of clout on Capital Hill. With Congress just as unpopular as ever, it stands to reason that they might want to do something populist, so why not issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal for taking down WikiLeaks?

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