WikiLeaks: hostile is as hostile does
“It is the sense of Congress,” according to the annual Intelligence Authorisation Act now working its way through the United States Senate, “that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States”.
US senator Ron Wyden, the Democrat from Oregon, was the lone dissenting vote on the Bill, which was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee late this month. Wyden is on board with Congress’s general anti-Russia/anti-WikiLeaks hatefest, but worries that the Bill’s “novel” phraseology might be “applied to journalists inquiring about secrets”.
That’s a valid concern as far as it goes, but it does not go nearly far enough.
Simply put, the US Government’s problem with WikiLeaks — the basis for its claim of hostility — is that WikiLeaks tells the truth about the US Government.
WikiLeaks’s disclosures include material on US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, and US spy operations against putative allies — including a scheme cooked up by the Central Intelligence Agency and Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State at the time, to spy on United Nations officials.
“Vault 7”, the present round of WikiLeaks disclosures, reveals the tools the CIA uses to compromise computers, telephones, even televisions, not to mention the tools it uses to spy on, get this, other US intelligence agencies.
Not that the US Government is the sole target of this “non-state hostile intelligence service”. WikiLeaks embarrasses governments around the world by showing their subjects the secrets those governments — yes, including Russia’s — do not want them to see.
Ever since passage of the National Security Act of 1947, the US Government’s “defence” and “intelligence” apparatuses have accustomed themselves to growing and operating absent any obligation or accountability to the citizens and taxpayers who pay — in treasure, and sometimes in blood — for their games.
Bottom line: the CIA, the NSA and the other “alphabet soup” agencies of the US Government spy on you, lie to you, and commit crimes in your name with presumed impunity. WikiLeaks merely shows you what they are doing, and has yet to be caught in a lie.
When the US Senate Intelligence Committee declares WikiLeaks “hostile”, the obvious question is “hostile to whom?” WikiLeaks is allied with the American people, while the US intelligence community — and, for the moment at least, the US Senate Intelligence Committee — is our enemy.
• Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Centre for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. He can be contacted on Twitter at @thomaslknapp