It appears that the State Department really wants to put its head in the sand when it comes to the whole Wikileaks' release of diplomatic cables. Mathew Ingram
points us to the news that a career services person at Columbia University apparently sent around an email, purportedly concerning a conversation they'd had with an alumnus at the State Department warning students who wanted to work in the State Department to ignore Wikileaks
. Specifically, it said that, as part of the background check on you, the State Department would review your social networking accounts, like Twitter and Facebook, and if they saw you had talked about Wikileaks, they might think you couldn't handle confidential information:
From: "Office of Career Services"
Date: November 30, 2010 15:26:53 EST
We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.
The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.
Office of Career Services
Assuming this is accurate (and it may prove not to be...), it's difficult to think of a much more ridiculous response. Talking about what's going on with Wikileaks is hardly an indication of how one deals with confidential information, because that information is no longer confidential
. Pretending that you shouldn't even discuss a rather important and topical story of interest to those who actually do care about diplomacy and public policy, isn't just a "put your head in the sand" approach, it's actively discouraging the folks who might have the most insight and interest into these subjects from getting a job where they might be of assistance.