Rev. Al Sharpton's Weekly Blog

Wikileaks – Proceed with Caution

Nov 29, 2010

Taken at face value, the latest Wikileaks release is in one word – disturbing.  Leaked confidential information regarding international relations and sensitive global issues, these 250,000 documents have reshaped the dynamic of diplomacy perhaps like never before.  The diplomatic cables touch on everything like Guantanamo Bay, predator drone attacks in Yemen, officials in Afghanistan, Russian and Italian relations, Pakistani nuclear fuel, North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe and much much more.  But although we’d like to believe all of this classified information without question, we must take a moment and dig a little deeper.

Diplomatic relations are never an easy task for any government to manage.  There are areas of key interest, volatile regions and shifting nuances in an ever-changing world.  But when private conversations and classified cables are released to the public in such a manner, the task of managing these difficult international relationships takes on an entirely new meaning.  For not only is our President and our government exposed here, but leaders and strategic partners around the planet now find their private exchanges with the U.S. available for the world to view with a simple click of the mouse.  And we must ask ourselves, why now?

Every administration in the history of this nation has had to withhold information from the public for a multitude of reasons; to believe otherwise would simply be foolish.  But we cannot blindly accept these quarter of a million leaks as 100% factual and true, for that would be just as foolish.  Because we do not instantaneously believe everything we watch on TV or read in the paper, we cannot unequivocally accept everything in these leaked documents.  Much of this information is incomplete and could be dangerous for us, and our strategic allies and informed resources in the field.

Whenever there is any sort of leak, we must proceed with caution and with a keen focus on why these events are transpiring now.  During the previous administration, there was more than a fair share of international dilemmas and challenges that faced the United States.  With the start of two wars, an escalating threat of terrorism and increasingly controversial mechanisms for securing intelligence, the Bush administration undoubtedly had countless classified documents, conversations and cables that never managed to reach the waves of the World Wide Web.

As people sift through the hundreds of thousands of Wikileaks files over the course of the next few days, weeks, months and perhaps longer, we must remain open to the idea that this may in fact have all transpired because of some sort of hidden agenda.  Is this leak released with partial information?  Is someone or something maybe working to discredit our President and this nation?  Would people have the same reaction if these sorts of leaks were done under George Bush?

The White House, Secretary Hillary Clinton and other officials are now in damage control mode.  Diligently reaching out to world leaders, they are warning and preparing everyone for the reality that some of their most confidential and trusted information is about to go public.  Containing the names of informents, journalists and others who provide necessary information to various governments, the Wikileaks cables will have ramifications for years to come.  Normally, we would have to wait decades to learn of the secrets and intricacies of some of our governmental workings.  Thanks to these leaked documents, that opportunity is available in real time and no longer reserved just for historians.  But remember – proceed with caution – for there could be a hidden agenda in even this, the seemingly transparent one.  And who will blow the whistle on that?