With the recent controversy over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s alleged and quickly dismissed rape charge this past weekend, I find this article by Kevin Poulsen on WIRED’s Threat Level, dated August 13th, uncannily prescient. If an effective technological responsible is near impossible, how about a true disinformation one?
On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a gathering in London that the secret-spilling website is moving ahead with plans to publish the remaining 15,000 records from the Afghan war logs, despite a demand from the Pentagon that WikiLeaks “return” its entire cache of published and unpublished classified U.S. documents.
Last month, WikiLeaks released 77,000 documents out of 92,000, temporarily holding back 15,000 records at the urging of newspapers that had been provided an advance copy of the entire database. On Thursday, Assange said his organization has now gone through about half of the remaining records, redacting the names of Afghan informants. That suggests the final release could still be weeks away.
Pundits, though, are clamoring for preemptive action. “The United States has the cyber capabilities to prevent WikiLeaks from disseminating those materials,” wrote Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen on Friday. “Will President Obama order the military to deploy those capabilities? … If Assange remains free and the documents he possesses are released, Obama will have no one to blame but himself.”