Wikileaks Is Harmful to the United States National Security

My partner and I negate the resolution: Resolved:Wikileaks is a threat to United States National Security. For clarity in today’s round, my partner and I offer the following definitions: National Security- National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the nation-statethrough the use of economic, military and political power and the exercise of diplomacy. Threat- declaration of an intention or a determination to inflict harm on another; imminent danger.

To further solidify the framework for this round, we pose the observation that in order to censor the press, the affirmative must show a clear and present danger where there is a risk that outweighs the benefits of the public having the information in question. Contention One-The documents released by Wikileaks are merely embarrassing, not threatening. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates is quoted as saying that the leaks are “awkward, yes embarrassing. But no, not a meltdown. ” It quickly becomes evident that the information released has had no negative effect on national security.

Although there exists rhetoric from other government officials which may seem to suggest otherwise, the federal government has not been able to provide any reason that Wikileaks threatens national security or an example as to how it does. This is supported by American Conservitive, which writes, “The federal government, which not-so-coincidentally continues to vaguely say that everything WikiLeaks does is a potential threat to national security, is never being able to cite anything specifically, per Gates’s admission.

” Moreover, while Wikileaks may have released some compromising documents or information, it is not a source of “imminent danger” towards the US or its citizens. Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange recently said, “There’s no evidence, or any credible allegation, or even any allegation from an official body that we have caused any individual at any time to come to harm in the past four years.

” In fact, Assange releasing classified information could have lessened the risk of danger in the United States. Governor Tom Kean, head of the 9/11 Commission, stated after looking at all the al Qaeda intelligence that was gathered before 9/11 said, “you know, 75 percent of what I saw that was classified should not have been… the system is so overwhelmed with the secrets, that we can no longer really protect the real ones, and we can’t let out the ones that would actually keep us all safer.

” According to the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the findings of the 9/11 Commission were that more openness would have made us more secure as a nation. Contention Two-Secrecy leaks are inevitable and Wikileaks is simply fulfilling its own niche within news media. Gabriel Schoenfeld of the Hudson Institute reports, “Given the massive secrecy, and given our political traditions, it can hardly come as a surprise that leaking is part and parcel of our system of rule.

Not a day goes by in Washington without government officials sharing inside information with journalists and lobbyists in off-the-record briefings and in private discussions over lunch. Much of the material changing hands in this fashion winds up getting published. A study by the Senate Intelligence Committee counted 147 separate disclosures of classified information that made their way into the nation’s eight leading newspapers in a six-month period alone. ” As these high numbers indicate, leaks to the press are a well-established informal practice.

They enable policy makers to carry out any one of a number of objectives: to get out a message to domestic and foreign audiences, to gauge public reaction in advance of some contemplated policy initiative, to curry favor with journalists, and to wage inter- or intra-bureaucratic warfare. For better or worse, leaking has become part of the normal functioning of the U. S. government. And for better or worse, leaking is one of the prime ways that we as citizens are informed about the workings of our government.

The conclusion is that Wikileaks is doing nothing revolutionary in terms of releasing classified information. In fact, the over-classification of most government material makes leakage inevitable and relatively harmless. Contention Three-Labeling Wikileaks as a threat to national security promotes vagueness and is counterproductive. There are three reasons that identifying Wikileaks as a threat is meaningless: Adding Wikileaks as another threat to national security broadens the definition of what constitutes a national security threat.

This broadening is unappealing as definitions require a limited and fixed meaning. If we try to prevent every potential risk to national security, then we will end up eliminating freedom – such as the freedom of the press in this instance. American Conservitive writes, “The basic function of any government is to protect citizens ‘liberties, yet federal officials now use vague, peculiar, and questionable interpretations of national security to promote policies either antagonistic toward or antithetical to America’s most basic precepts and principles.

Frivolous national security secrecy claims collapse confidence in the government’s national security architecture. The Gold Coast Bulletin writes, “Frivolous government claims to secrecy will eventually diminish public confidence in the executive’s judgment about what should and should not be kept secret. These three reasons show why it is meaningless for the government to be overly-concerned with small risks to national security, such as Wikileaks.