There’s a lot of thoughtful discussion going on about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in light of the publication of the 250,000 cables between the US and other foreign governments. Some of the best I’ve read comes from Clay Shirky (“WikiLeaks and the Long Haul”), Jeff Jarvis (“WikiLeaks: Power Shifts From Secrecy to Transparency”) Evan Hansen (“Why WikiLeaks is Good for America”) and Ethan Zuckerman (“Why Amazon Caved, and What it Means for the Rest of us”)
If you’re interested in reading more commentary, Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic is doing a great job cataloging essays and editorials here.
As with so many things, the moral question of whether or not WikiLeaks should exist or should publish this sort of information is nearly irrelevant. The REALITY is that it DOES exist and CAN publish these documents and videos.
Every communication sent by anyone, be it a lowly government official or a head of state, carries with it the inherent risk of disclosure either through breaching the security of the channel through which it is sent or via the disclosure by the sender/recipient.
Rather than expending so many resources trying vainly to conduct so much policy through a (nonexistent) veil of silence (which invariably increases scrutiny) organizations need to consider the possibility that it benefits them to be more transparent, particularly in light of the new paradigms that affect communication.