Some Sanity From Those In Power In The US Government, Concerning TSA Security & Wikileaks

from the they're-not-all-crazy! dept

While we’ve been highlighting the absolutely ridiculous responses by the US government to both the terrorism threat to airlines and the Wikileaks situation, it should be noted (thankfully!) that not everyone in the US government is overreacting, and there are some clear signs of sanity.

First up, we have Aaron Farnham pointing us to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ response to the Wikileaks disclosure of diplomatic cables, that seems to take a much more rational view:

But let me — let me just offer some perspective as somebody who’s been at this a long time. Every other government in the world knows the United States government leaks like a sieve, and it has for a long time. And I dragged this up the other day when I was looking at some of these prospective releases. And this is a quote from John Adams: “How can a government go on, publishing all of their negotiations with foreign nations, I know not. To me, it appears as dangerous and pernicious as it is novel.” . . .

Now, I’ve heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think — I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought. The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it’s in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets.

Many governments — some governments deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation. So other nations will continue to deal with us. They will continue to work with us. We will continue to share sensitive information with one another. Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.

The full statement has even more details, where he talks about better information sharing. Given some of the responses from others inside and outside the government, it’s nice to see someone like Secretary Gates (who has been quite critical of Wikileaks in the past), come out with a more reasoned response (though it has received almost no press coverage).

Similarly, Wired has an article highlighting how Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, is speaking more reasonably about anti-terrorism efforts and security as well, noting (as we have in the past) that “perfect security” is an impossible goal that is, itself, damaging to security.

He points out that the US appears to be playing right into Al Qaeda’s hands by playing up each failed terrorist attempt and then overreacting to it, noting that (like internet trolls), a better response might be to just ignore them publicly, while continuing to do things quietly on the back end to protect the country.

I don’t agree with everything he had to say, but given how many frustrating responses we’ve seen from government officials on both of these issues over the last few weeks, it’s worth pointing out that not everyone is responding that way.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,
Companies: tsa, wikileaks

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Some Sanity From Those In Power In The US Government, Concerning TSA Security & Wikileaks”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Mr Big Content says:

And So We Sniff Out The Traitors...

Interesting to see who are the traitors within the Administration who are in the pay of Al-Quaida and Osama Bin Leaden?they are the ones who, like Gates, are downplaying the treasonous actions of Wikileaks, instead of taking a zero-tolerance approach to such blatant threats to our security. Let us flush out all those expressing these kinds of subversive sympathies for our mortal enemies, round them up and ship them off to Guantamano Bay, where they can rot in h*ck as they deserve.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: And So We Sniff Out The Traitors...

1. I live in a country that has freedom of speech, even though its under attack by people like you, i still hope that it remains together
2. USA will always have enemy’s, it went from communism to fundamental terrorist; still, i was more worried about the world getting destroyed before i woke up when i was a child, now, its the very very very small chance of a dirty bomb. Things have improved
3. Sacrificing not only our beliefs, but our very system is how the terrorist will destroy this country, they have no army that can do it, only through fear, and man you are dancing to the fiddlers tune
4. The person to charge is the person who leaked, if you want to charge someone else, then you need to attack freedom of the press, because wiki-leaks have been around for awhile, it is only the mainstream media that made them famous.

Anonymous Coward says:

Twitter talked about wikileaks more then sports

Take a look at some twitter trends which shows that with the exception of the FIFA world cup announcement, these leaks dwarf sport. Even in the FIFA case, WikiLeaks has come into play with some commenters in the UK calling Russia a “mafia” state (two British papers Guardian daily sun, Google has plenty more). The NFL was beat out by WikiLeaks last Sunday and at the rate things are going it will be beat out again this week. Even the generic term football gets beat out except for the FIFA case.

Take this all with a grain of salt, but I believe this shows that WikiLeaks news is getting out despite all efforts against it.

Something else to note, I’m not sure how often this happens on twitter trends, but take a look at how constantly WikiLeaks is being mentioned. Its regularly around 0.5% up through 2.1% of all tweets, averaging roughly at 1%. This is over the course of close to 6 days and counting! Has a topic been this popular on twitter before?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »