Friday, December 10, 2010

Reckless disclosure

Readers might have noticed that I've been keeping out of the WikiLeaks controversy. And now, Louis B Susman, the current US Ambassador to the UK has pronounced on the issue. He writes:
WikiLeaks styles itself a whistle blowing organisation. This is not whistle blowing. There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people. There is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends ...

The need for confidential discussions is not unique to diplomacy. Lawyers, doctors and journalists (yes, journalists) all need a space of trust for important communications. But it is central to diplomacy, and this breach in confidentiality – even if it did not come from the state department – shows a disregard for the wellbeing of countless individuals.
The whole piece is worth reading – and there is a lot with which I could agree. Whistle blowing is justified when it exposes an egregious wrong, the extent of which is so serious as to warrant the breach of trust involved, AND the good done far exceeds any harm done by the disclosure.

Nothing so far revealed by the WikiLeaks cables would seem to justify the wholesale release of the material.  That's why I've not gone overboard about them.