Okay, I'm reading my morning feeds of news stories and this headline catches my eye from FOREIGN POLICY.
State Department Employees Cleared to Watch WikiLeaks Movie
Ever since WikiLeaks.org began releasing thousands of classified cables, State Department employees have been forbidden from visiting the website without explicit authorization. (Sure, it was a silly prohibition given the proliferation of mainstream newspaper stories based on the WikiLeaks cables, but them's the rules). So how about viewing WikiLeaks the movie?
Not a problem, the State Department tells The Cable. Watching the hotly anticipated WikiLeaks drama Fifth Estate will not place employees on the naughty list.
Now I know that in the State Department, they have all kinds of rules and regulations about how you conduct yourselves, what you can do, who you can speak with and where you can go. But really, how can an organization expect to run at full efficiency if they clamp on a governor to your viewing habits if these activities are fully legal to anyone else?
It's okay for my barber or kid's teacher to read these reports, or my watching the news and getting them fed to me, but I can't go to the site myself to see what I'm missing? I think there's a screw loose here, or maybe many of them.
I can understand asking a State Department employee from forgoing an activity which could lead to their being blackmailed. But going to Wikileaks? Watching a movie? Where is this line drawn and who gets to make the decision if something is to be stamped, verboten?
Wouldn't it be in the country's best interest if the State Department allowed its workers to have access to a site like Wikileaks -- especially Wikileaks? If Julian Assange is printing things that are false, who would know better than the people who might be fingered on the site? And if the media organization's accusations and reports are true, but considered secret, who would know better?
I think viewing these sites, not by ordained monitors but by the full slate of State Department personnel should not only be allowed, but required. This way, if some secret is being revealed, or someone's safety is compromised, identity or hints insinuated, they can report it to the department. They shouldn't have to rely on some intra-agency readers to shed light on an employee's possible danger.
Doesn't it make you wonder? Here's a film about a whistle blower (Julian Assange) who published classified info and continues to do so on his site (Wikileaks.org) and it's okay to watch but not visit the actual site?
This is nuts. And maybe John Kerry can explain it. If I was with the State Department, I would want to know everything the public knows, especially if my safety is being compromised. Wouldn't you?