Last week the Washington Post outed thousands of top-secret security agencies, to the point of publishing an on-line map so that they can be located. Now an online group WikiLeaks has released thousands of classified documents about the war in Afghanistan:
U.S. and Pakistani officials are condemning the publication of leaked documents that are said to be secret U.S. military files about the Afghanistan war.
The website WikiLeaks posted tens of thousands of documents online Sunday, and said it has another 15,000 documents that will be released “as the security situation in Afghanistan permits.” It says the files cover the period between January 2004 and December 2009.
White House National Security Advisor James Jones issued a statement calling the leaks “irresponsible,” saying they not only put the lives of Americans and their partners at risk, but also threaten national security.
The leaked documents are said to include records detailing raids carried out by a secretive U.S. special operations unit against what U.S. officials call “high-value” insurgent and terrorist targets. Some of the raids are said to have resulted in unintended killings of Afghan civilians.
Also included are documents allegedly describing U.S. fears that Pakistan’s intelligence service was aiding the Afghan insurgency.
Jones said WikiLeaks made no effort to contact the U.S. government, which learned about the release from news organizations. Those include The New York Times, London’s Guardian newspaper and the German weekly Der Spiegel.
It is certainly difficult to keep secrets in the age of the internet. Should we just accept all of this “transparency” and embrace a totally free marketplace of information? Of course, the exposure of government secrets simply follows the exposure of personal secrets that the internet also makes possible. Do we need to find a way to allow for both individual privacy and national security secrets, or do we just need to find a way to live with the new information environment?