« Dude Tops Leoniadas With 21st Century Molon Labe | Main | Uh-Oh: Think Progress Frets "Proposed House GOP Rules Give Rep. Ryan ‘Stunning And Unprecedented’ Power To Shape Budget" »
December 31, 2010

Floyd Abrams: WikiLeaks Cables Are No Pentagon Papers, and Julian Assange Is No Daniel Ellsburg

Floyd Abrams is on the left, so he holds Ellsburg in higher regard than most conservatives. But more importantly, he holds Julian Assange in low regard.

I didn't know the part about Ellsburg holding back volumes of the Pentagon Papers that referred to current events, current officials, and current diplomatic efforts in Vietnam. It's an interesting contrast, as Ellsburg was at least selective in his leaking, and did not leak purely out of a childish urge to burn the house down.

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg decided to make available to the New York Times (and then to other newspapers) 43 volumes of the Pentagon Papers, the top- secret study prepared for the Department of Defense examining how and why the United States had become embroiled in the Vietnam conflict. But he made another critical decision as well. That was to keep confidential the remaining four volumes of the study describing the diplomatic efforts of the United States to resolve the war.

Not at all coincidentally, those were the volumes that the government most feared would be disclosed. In a secret brief filed with the Supreme Court, the U.S. government described the diplomatic volumes as including information about negotiations secretly conducted on its behalf by foreign nations including Canada, Poland, Italy and Norway. Included as well, according to the government, were "derogatory comments about the perfidiousness of specific persons involved, and statements which might be offensive to nations or governments."

The diplomatic volumes were not published, even in part, for another dozen years. Mr. Ellsberg later explained his decision to keep them secret, according to Sanford Ungar's 1972 book "The Papers & The Papers," by saying, "I didn't want to get in the way of the diplomacy."

Julian Assange sure does. Can anyone doubt that he would have made those four volumes public on WikiLeaks regardless of their sensitivity? Or that he would have paid not even the slightest heed to the possibility that they might seriously compromise efforts to bring a speedier end to the war?

...

WikiLeaks offers no articles of its own, no context of any of the materials it discloses, and no analysis of them other than assertions in press releases or their equivalent. As Princeton historian Sean Wilentz told the Associated Press earlier this month, WikiLeaks seems rooted in a "simpleminded idea of secrecy and transparency," one that is "simply offended by any actions that are cloaked."

He then discusses whether Assange can be prosecuted under the notably-broad Espionage Act. He concludes he can be, if it can be established that Assange engaged in these actions with the intent to harm the national interests of the United States -- and given Assange's grandstanding, juvenile-nihilist public statements, that probably can be established.


digg this
posted by Ace at 01:32 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
illiniwek: "" when there are millions of processes and counter ..."

AOS janitor: "What the hell happened here?? Why is there Jello a ..."

WhatWhatWhat?: "Yikes. Just running to the store for some eggs an ..."

rickb223 [/s][/b][/i][/u]: "Morning all ..."

WhatWhatWhat?: "The Triggered by Mini-Cupcakes chick's Twitter fee ..."

Sue: "My husband works for a distillery. We appreciate g ..."

Barack Obama is a bad, bad man: "If drones start to bother you, this little kit dev ..."

Hillary Clinton: " *hic* ..."

Barack Obama is a bad, bad man: "Anal sex stories before my second cup of coffee. ..."

Gem: "Morning, morons. I saw a drone hovering over th ..."

Mary Poppins' Practically Perfect Piercing: "[I]A joke... A young virgin falls in love with ..."

NBC has a new motto: "STOP THE HAMMERING! ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64