Julian Assange is the founder of Wikileaks and as you have probably heard, he’s publicly posting a large number of uncensored intelligence documents he’s received. Happily, most of them haven’t done a lot of damage. However, the same can’t be said for the information he’s released about Afghan informants:
THE Australian founder of WikiLeaks has been forced to defend his decision to publish tens of thousands of uncensored intelligence documents as condemnation grew over the exposure of Afghan informants.
The names, villages, relatives’ names and even precise GPS locations of Afghans co-operating with NATO forces could be accessed easily from files released by WikiLeaks, The Times revealed this week.
Human rights groups criticised the website and a US politician said the security breaches amounted to a ready-made Taliban hit list.
…He claimed many informers in Afghanistan were “acting in a criminal way” by sharing false information with NATO authorities and said the White House knew informants’ names could be exposed but did nothing to help WikiLeaks vet the data.
Mr Assange insisted any risk to informants’ lives was outweighed by the overall importance of publishing the information.
…Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said: “Real people die when sources and methods are revealed. Clearly people who are co-operating with us are now at risk. That is precisely one of the reasons we’ve been so concerned about this leak.
“The whole campaign is about convincing Afghans that it’s worth taking the risk to come and work with us to take a stand against the repression and brutality of the Taliban.” A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai predicted the leak would cause “a big disaster in the future”. Siamak Heraway said: “We worry about this. We will see informants being assassinated by the Taliban; we will see a massacre.”
George W. Bush never took leaks of sensitive classified material seriously and Obama is following in his footsteps, but the reality is that these leaks can lead to big body counts. When we alert the enemy to techniques we use to get information out of them, track them, or our sources — people can die as a result.
That’s why, at a minimum, government employees who leak this sort of information to the press should spend the rest of their lives breaking big rocks into smaller rocks in a federal penitentiary. In a case like this, where informants who risked their lives to help us may be killed along with their families, the people responsible for leaking the information deserve to be hung for treason.
In Assange’s case, he’s not an American and so he has no constitutional protection. Moreover, he’s going to get a lot of people killed. Can we do anything legally about someone from another country leaking this information? Maybe not. Can we have a CIA agent with a sniper rifle rattle a bullet around his skull the next time he appears in public as a warning? You bet we can — and we should. If that’s too garish for people, then the CIA can kill him and make it look like an accident.
Either way, Julian Assange deserves to die for what he’s done and he should be killed to send a message loud enough to convince other people not to publish documents like this in the future.