Of WikiLeaks and other sins

I was warned about this. A news agency recently suggested that comments on/about WikiLeaks may hinder your changes of getting into prestigious schools, or getting government jobs after college. Let’s face it, I need all the help I can get. My sister, an army veteran, also cautioned me about discussing this very polarizing issue, but I’m doing it anyway, because not too many people are.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock – or a pile of books – you’re probably aware of WikiLeaks, a website that facilitates the disclosure of classified information. You may also be aware of the whirlwind surrounding the whistleblower site and its founder, Julian Assange, in response to its release of thousands of classified documents in November.

Since then, WikiLeaks has faced surmounting attacks including getting booted from Amazon’s servers and losing their primary source of funds, in their PayPal account.

As an adopted American, I must question the tactics employed by WikiLeaks’ in exposing classified information. As a journalist, I almost applaud them.

Assange and WikiLeaks knew the implications of releasing state secrets and publicly feared the repercussions, but they released the documents anyway. However, whether their actions are a service, or disservice, to Americans is still to be determined, which brings me to the burning question.

Does disclosing non-public, state information make WikiLeaks a terrorist organization, as some have labeled them? Or is WikiLeaks.org protected by the First Amendment? Because as far as I know, it’s that same freedom of speech that differentiates this country from places like China, Egypt and Mexico, where the flow of information seems more like a water current making a stop at the Hoover Dam of censorship.

After all, wasn’t it the third American President, Thomas Jefferson, who said “information is the currency of democracy”?

I am in no position to label actions as un-American or unethical. I am, however, encouraging members of this college community to discuss a very important matter, because it shouldn’t take a situation like Egypt’s for us to really understand what is being done in our name.

I would encourage you to get involved in this healthy discussion. I’m particularly interested in hearing from Army families and those in support of Assange and WikiLeaks. Because to ignore this issue, is to ignore what the brave men and women in our Armed Forces are fighting to protect: Freedom, in all forms.