You know you’ve hit something deep when so many natural political enemies discharge the same denunciation at the same time. The WikiLeaks revelations hit a magma reservoir. The revelations have united the fury of the Obama administration with that of Congress, the Clintons with National Review, Diane Feinstein with Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck with Jon Stewart. But they all seemed to have missed the point.

Liberal Senator Diane Feinstein described the leak of classified documents, as “a serious breach of national security and could be used to severely harm the United States and its worldwide interests.” On the other side of the political world, Sarah Palin echoed that outrage and wondered why the government wasn’t pursuing WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange “with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.” The chair of the British intelligence and security commisson said “the information will severely damage operations against terrorism,” and Italian foreign minister, Franco Frattini, declared the revelations the “September 11th of world diplomacy.”

What common value has blended these normally disjointed voices so closely? It’s not visible on the surface. And the critics of WikiLeaks sometimes try to say different things. It’s certainly not the issue that many of the pundits think it is. For example, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and Secretary of State Clinton have both minimized the leaks as revealing nothing interesting or unusual. Stewart mocked the revelations as “non-policy chitchat we already knew” and “less than a searing indictment.” He said WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, should “stop the drama.” But Stewart keeps devoting large segments of his show to discussing it.

Hilary Clinton joked about the leaks at first, and then declared, “This disclosure is not just an attack on America — it’s an attack on the international community.” Such leaks, she said, “tear at the fabric” of responsible government.

The initial attempt to dismiss the leaks as trivial completely misses the point. The point was not the actual content of the leaks, though some of the correspondence has revealed typical government lies. The point was not to deliver a second “Pentagon Papers”. The revelations could have indeed been mere chitchat about embassy menus and still accomplished the more devastating goals of Julian Assange.

Back in 2006, Assange explained his goals in terms of using leaks to reduce the power of the insider elite. Assange described any typical “collaborative secrecy, working to the detriment of the population, is enough to define their behavior as conspiratorial.” The secrecy of any government makes it a conspirator of sorts and Assange’s stated goal is to turn conspiracies against themselves, or to use biblical language, “a kingdom is divided against itself, that cannot stand.” (Mark 3:24).

Assange described the power of leaks in these terms: “a conspiracy is a type of cognitive device that acts on information acquired from its environment; distorting or restricting these inputs means acts based on them are likely to be misplaced. Programmers call this effect garbage in, garbage out.” With leaks of classified information, Assange says, the “interesting idea is to split the total conspiratorial power in half.” In other words, the goal of leaks is to “blind a conspiracy by distorting or restricting the information available to it.” If a government cannot communicate freely in secret, whatever the secret, then it loses power. If U.S. diplomacy suffers because other countries will not speak freely to it, then all of them will experience a diminishing of power. Assange adds, “A conspiracy sufficiently engaged in this manner is no longer able to comprehend its environment and plan robust action.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

This is exactly the fallout. As former Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns has stated, “I think the leaking of these cables has been a travesty. He has done great harm to our diplomacy, because it strikes at the heart of what diplomacy is: The building of trust between people and between governments. The leaks are going to make some people much more reluctant to discuss their affairs with American diplomats.”

Diminishing government power—that’s the effect of even the most trivial leaks, and that’s the point of WikiLeaks. The point isn’t the content of the cables, and it’s not even about the need for more openness. It’s not about putting any diplomat or government official in harm’s way or stopping some international crime. It’s about slowly putting sand in the gears of the most unbelievably powerful set of nations in world history.

Think about it. What is the purpose of secrecy anyway? It’s always about maintaining an upper hand, either to dominate someone else or to keep from being dominated. But does the United States really have any genuine or serious fear about being dominated by our allies who are mentioned in the cables? It looks like this kind of secrecy is about dominating other nations.

But Christians have to bristle at such naked claims of power, especially given Jesus’ cutting words about Roman Imperial power: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.” (Matthew 20:25) His challenge is deep and perhaps unfathomable to our narrow political imaginations. George Washington would concur, and perhaps a rereading of his Farewell Address is in order for our diplomats, with special attention to his warning about “the mischiefs of foreign intrigue.”

At the very least, we should rethink the secular groupthink condemnation of WikiLeaks.

Should we, in some way, be pleased with WikiLeak’s attempt to reduce government power? It depends. This question can’t be answered in a moral vacuum. Is WikiLeaks a Judas or a David-fighting-Goliath? Relativists and idolaters of raw power don’t have the tools to answer that question. It’s likely Assange himself doesn’t have the moral plumb line to answer it either. Judas sided with the power elite of the Temple authorities. However, when David used a small, simple weapon to hit a pretty big target, the enemy scattered. Totalitarian domination took a hit that day.


  • akaGaGa Posted December 15, 2010 11:47 am

    “But Christians have to bristle at such naked claims of power.”

    And some Christians do. Unfortunately, most Americans have yet to separate “God” from “country” in their own minds and blindly support whatever the government and its pundits tell them, even if holding that position requires them to ignore scripture.

    Thank you for an excellent analysis.

    • Dipali Posted June 21, 2012 5:43 am

      They’re not dying off, they’re moving away. If you find the steysm unbearable, nobody forces you to take part in it. Cut your ties with it. Throw away your TV, quit your job, learn to need less money and make your own energy, barter things, grow food, and hang around good decent folks who do the same. Life can still be great, it just doesn’t happen on TV or facebook

  • Trisha Holmeide Posted December 17, 2010 3:56 am

    No matter how the leaks are spun their intended purpose is being accomplished by undermining our position in all foreign or domestic transactions. Losing trust in our government is all a part of the plan to bring about anarchy and permission from the dumbed down massess to overtrow our form of government. After-all they are showing us day after day that our econimic system isn’t working and our politicians are corrupt so obviously something has to change. Right?

    Assange –along with the current bunch (and probably the former bunch still operating in positions of power) of radical progressives controlling our government join forces throughout the world that are hell-bent on bringing the entire world into chaos in order to create a situation where the proletariat will be reactionary and rise up to overthrow governments worldwide. They already have their communist sympathizers in place to step into power and exercise complete dominion over the planet. Does anybody really think that a low level military person could get millions of top secret documents without the help of some very powerful people inside our government? None of this is by accident. The real question is what are good people everywhere going to do about it?

  • akaGaGa Posted December 18, 2010 9:32 am

    Losing trust in our government is all a part of the plan to bring about anarchy and permission from the dumbed down massess to overtrow our form of government..


    It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. Psalms 118:8-9

    But then, perhaps, belief in the Bible makes me part of the “dumbed down masses.”

    • laurencetribe Posted January 4, 2011 9:23 pm

      I don’t believe there is a single instance of anarchy. Failing and failed governments of all types have been replaced by men/governments promising a better life who have ultimately been replaced by men/governments promising, etc.,etc.,etc. Men/people have not learned very much over time: they are still spellbound by liars cheats and theives, read politicians of every ilk.

  • The Col Posted February 22, 2011 2:12 pm

    Madame Clinton is to diplomacy what typhoid mary was to immunizations. Just because Madame Clintons personal emails are on a classified computer system doesnt mean they are classified. There must be a CG
    (classification guide) governing what was said and how it should have been classified. Surprizingly the trial is not materializing or coalescing as they wanted. Embarrassing Madame Clinton is not, no matter what she thinks, a captial crime. It is important to remember this ineptitude when she next runs for president. Like she asked “Who do you want to answer that phone at 4am?” Certainly not you Madame Buffoon….and Barack, well, he is most likey to be on vacation……

    • Rolf Posted June 20, 2012 3:14 pm

      Parker,You make some great points, and it’s easy to see that you’ve cordesined this issue carefully from both sides. You’ve looked through the lenses of opposite view points and you came to a conclusion that comes somewhere in the middle. The middle can be a good place to be, because there isn’t a clear right or wrong answer. You understand that one side isn’t going to be fully right or fully wrong, but you’ve done a good job of explaining where you stand.Before I can give you a score on this, you need to have at least three links in your writing that show what you’ve read and where your opinions have come from. Please add the links directly into your post and let me know when you’ve got them so you can get a score. That will make your opinions even more clear and your blog more professional.

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