If you had information about local organized crime activities, and were contemplating giving this information to the police, would you be more or less willing to be an informant if you knew your name might be associated with that information? Would you be willing to take that chance?
Yeah, me neither.
NewsBusters, in a post regarding all the classified information dumped to the public via the NY Times and, more recently, by Wikileaks, noted Jim Miklaszewski discussing this on MSNBC.
Not only are those named put at risk, but those who might potentially cooperate with the Americans are probably not going to do it now. You know, often allies, U.S. allies, have told the Pentagon, State Department, why should we cooperate with you, because whatever we tell you is going to end up on the front pages of the New York Times.
That’s one of the complaints, actually, specifically from Pakistan. Every time U.S. officials travel to Islamabad to sit down and try to gain increased cooperation from Pakistan, inevitably, we are told, they complain about press leaks that jeopardize anything they’re going to do in conjunction with the U.S.
(Emphasis supplied by NB.)
While Pfc. Bradley Manning may have had a legitimate beef with how portions of the Afghanistan War have been run, his implication in this massive document dump to Wikileaks far overshadows his initial charges. If he’d kept the dump relevant to his whistleblowing, I’d think much better of him (aside from the fact that he didn’t go through the normal channels the military has set up for whistleblowers).
But this dump, purporting to merely foster transparency, has damaged our credibility with potential sources, and given our enemies a boatload of late summer reading. Just as there were other, proper ways for Pfc. Manning to get his point across, there are better ways to foster transparency than giving aid to our enemies and discomfort to those who might help us defend ourselves.