God damn it, I just knew something like this was going to happen:
WikiLeaks on Thursday confirmed reports that it has lost control of a cache of U.S. diplomatic cables that it has been publishing in recent months, saying a security breach has led to the public disclosure of hundreds of thousands of the unredacted documents.
The website quickly sought to deflect blame for the leak of the leaked classified cables. It accused the U.K. newspaper the Guardian—which last year was WikiLeaks’ partner in publishing some of the cables—of publishing in a book a password that unlocks an encrypted file containing the unredacted cables.
Unredacted means that the names of informants and allies are out there. At this point, no one know how much damage has been done.
This is precisely what I feared. Wikileaks has been fairly reasonable up to this point in releasing cables, trying to keep people out of danger (modulo their tendency to editorialize and sensationalize). But once you release something onto the internet — as numerous sexters have found out — it never dies. It’s out there.
This is why, despite my enthusiasm for open government and my hatred of secrecy, I’ve never thought that Bradley Manning was a hero and have had trouble working up sympathy for him. The guy didn’t carefully and responsibly expose government corruption (the leaks, with a few exceptions, tend to be more embarrassing than enraging). He just dumped a bunch of documents to someone he hoped — maybe — wouldn’t be reckless.
Now there’s a real possibility that people will die over this. Was it worth it?