So, let me get this straight. The big data-dump of 250,000 leaked diplomatic cables reveal that American diplomats occasionally spy on other diplomats, the Arabs don’t like the Persians, British royalty can be rude, and Obama and his disciples have poor opinions of other world leaders. Oh, and the Chinese government might be trying to censor parts of the internet, the Russian government might have ties to organized crime and members of the Afghan government might be corrupt.
Really? The UK’s Guardian says the leak of the diplomatic cable “sparks a global diplomatic crisis.” Michael Kinsley famously said once that a “gaffe” in DC was committed when someone mistakingly spoke the truth. I guess the stripped-pants crowd is a bit more high-strung. Speaking the truth isn’t a gaffe among the embassy set, its a full-blown ‘crisis.’
Congressman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) says the Wikileaks organization should be classified as a “terrorist organization” and its founder, Julian Assange should be criminally prosecuted. Personally, I think Mr. Assange should be sued for false advertising. The revelations from the diplomatic cables aren’t anywhere near what was promised. I want my money back.
Of course, it is possible that more startling revelations come to light. Color me skeptical, though, as it seems Assange would lead with his best stuff. Regardless, I don’t think the real scandal is the content of the cables. I think it is this:
How the hell does a 22-year old private have access to this stuff?
The UK Guardian explains it was actually pretty easy:
It was childishly easy, according to the published chatlog of a conversation Manning had with a fellow-hacker. “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labelled with something like ‘Lady Gaga’ … erase the music … then write a compressed split file. No one suspected a thing … [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga’s Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history.” He said that he “had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months”.
Lady Gaga? Is this a joke?
In case you are thinking that Private Manning was some kind of brilliant cyber-sleauth who figured out how to get special access to the cables:
More than 3 million US government personnel and soldiers, many extremely junior, are cleared to have potential access to this material, even though the cables contain the identities of foreign informants, often sensitive contacts in dictatorial regimes. Some are marked “protect” or “strictly protect”.
Three million people have access to classified information that can ‘spark a global diplomatic crisis?” Really? Again, is this some kind of joke? Do they give out access for simply eating your vegetables?
This is indicative of why I’ve never bought any of those wild conspiracies of super-secret actions by the government. Most of those theories would necessitate super-duper and elaborate planning and coordination and ninja-like execution. Our government just isn’t anywhere near that competent. Less like ninjas, it is really more like the Apple Dumpling Gang.
So, let’s put aside the gossipy stuff and ask the really important question: Who put these idiots in charge of anything?