You have a friend Bobby. Now Bobby, he’s a good enough guy. He’s not exactly your best friend, but you guys run in the same circles and get along okay.

Your friend Sam is interested in doing business with this guy Bobby.

Now, while you get along with Bobby, you don’t exactly trust him with money. He’s had issues in the past.

So your friend Sam, who is a really good friend of yours for some time, says something about how Bobby keeps asking if he wants to do business. He’s hesitant, but leaning towards maybe giving it a shot.

You and Sam go so far back that it wouldn’t be right for you not to warn him. So you have a conversation where you say, listen, I know this guy and he’s alright, but he’s got some issues. He’s had some really bad business deals and isn’t good with money.

Some guy overhears our conversation and tells everyone, including Bobby, about what I said.

This guy’s not even a friend of yours, or Bobby. He just wanted to tell Bobby that you warned your friend Sam about him, for no other reason than he wants him to know.

So now this guy Bobby has a serious problem with you. Because you run in the same circles, it’s going to create a lot of potential problems. Certain friends are going to be put in bad situations, and whereas before you avoided your friend Sam getting hurt, now you have a whole gaggle of problems.

And all because that random person decided to find Bobby and tell him about this conversation he overheard.

That’s kind of jerk move, right?


That’s kind of what I feel WikiLeaks did with their latest round of releases.

There’s a difference between whistle-blowing – as in exposing bad practices or criminal acts – and leaking intelligence cables that say, hey, we don’t trust Pakistan and they have a bad record dealing with terrorists, or that we’ve suspected for some time that certain Saudis may be bankrolling less desirable elements in the region.

Countries around the world have Intelligence communities for a reason. It’d be nice to think that we can just walk around and say whatever we want and have everyone be forthright and not have to face consequences for it, but guess what? We live in the real world where people and countries don’t do and say what they mean, and we have to play accordingly.

It’s the way it’s worked for many years. Not just decades: I’m talking hundreds of years. These “let the truth come out” seem silly when the only thing that can come out of certain portions of the information being leaked is strained international relations.

Not all truths need to be broadcast to the entire world.


14 Responses to Secrets Hurt Friends, But Exposing Them Can Hurt more

  1. Tony Barbaro says:

    Well said….sometimes in the spirit of “openness” there is too much information…some things are “need to know”…..of course I feel the same about the paper putting people’s adresses in an article when they have committed a crime. Unless it’s a pediphile, why do we have to know where some moron lives?

  2. JGR says:

    I agree that WikiLeaks is treading a dangerous line. However, things get murky when people say “NO!” to all leaks. How would news organizations get hard biting news scoops without anonymous sources?

  3. Will King says:

    I have no problem with WikiLeaks releasing anything and everything they have.

    Let’s open up that “Top Secret” vault and have a look see!

  4. JGR says:

    Can’t agree with that Will. Open that vault door too wide, and you get people killed.

  5. David says:

    Sorry this comment isn’t on point but I’ve been wondering… in your blog profile picture… is that your “O” face?

  6. C says:

    Let me just say first that I hate sounding like freaking Palin and the conservatives but everything about this was just wrong.

    I don’t see this as anything other than treason by the American that gave him these documents and espionage by Assange for releasing secret state documents to the world.

    The freedom of speech defense doesn’t sit right with me either, it’s the diplomats freedom of speech that should be protected here, keeping what exchanged between them secret. In my opinion Assange is a traitor the whole world and every country mention in those documents should try him for espionage.

  7. Amanda Talar says:

    “Not all truths need to be broadcast to the entire world.”

    I agree, 100%.

  8. Will King says:

    Rosemary Armao said it best in a comment on her post, “What if WikiLeaks were retroactive?

    Her comment was this –

    Thanks for recapping the major arguments being put forth in strong opposition to WikiLeaks’ recent information dumps. These are all good points and I won’t discount them. But I offer some counter arguments.

    1. The leaks have resulted in no loss of life and no outing of US secret agents (at least, so far). The same cannot be said of the administration of Presidents Bush and Obama who have brought us the outrage against CIA agent Valerie Plame and wars in two countries. So I am not fully persuaded by dire warnings and hand wringing coming from government defenders such as Secretary Clinton.

    I think WikiLeaks has made mistakes in not editing out all the names of people put into danger that it might have. But certainly the organization tried to do this right (sending material to the world’s most esteemed media outlets for vetting, changing policies in the face of criticism). And while there has been lots of yelling about giving away US military positions — that has not really happened and no one argues it should.

    2. Do you really believe one Army private found and gave away all the thousands of secret documents we are talking about here? I have trouble with that idea but if it is true, the leak has exposed a terribly deficient system of document keeping that needs to be fixed. The leaker or leakers may indeed be guilty of treason or illegal activity, but since WikiLeaks did not engage in theft or encourage it according to any information so far available, there is nothing to stand in the way of the organization publishing it that I can think of. This has certainly long been the practice upheld by courts for American media.

    3. I am suspicious of the rape charges against Assange. I certainly favor harsh punishment for rape, but the timing of these allegations and the way he is being so rigorously sought suggest there are other issues besides violated women on the authorities’ minds.

    4. Publicizing the cables could indeed change how business between nations is done, but I wonder if that is necessarily so bad. The mafiazation of the Russian government, the nuclear capability of Iran, the need for change in the Koreans, all highlighted in the cables, are matters that need attention from the American government and from us. Definitely this affects the common folk. Maybe we could talk about some of this in the midst of all the hue and cry occupying us about TSA pat downs and gay soldiers.

    5. Assange has from Day 1 championed real transparency. That is his mission, I think, not hurting the US. He definitely doesn’t mind if that happens, but he has been consistent in his idea, a good one, that democracies open information about its inner workings to the people — who ARE the government.

    Didn’t mean to put such a long thing out there, but I came across her post, especially her comment on the post and I agree with just about everything she had to say.

  9. Brad says:

    Most of these leaks, from what I’ve heard, aren’t really leaks at all, it’s just things that we know about other countries that they already know about. So your scenario above is a tad off.

    It’s more like, Bobby doesn’t have a money problem, but he’s cross-eyed… He knows he’s cross-eyed, you know he’s cross-eyed, but you just don’t talk about it with him. Sure it’ll hurt his feelings when you introduce him to Sam as your cross-eyed friend Bobby, but he’ll get over it. Eventually.

  10. Ding! Ding! Ding! says:

    David FTW!

  11. A. says:

    “Some guy” definitely has issues. I had to comment, because I HATE people like “some guy”. It’s like, get a freaking life. Mind your own business, and stop acting like a woman. Some people just have this compulsion to get attention, so they just sit and wait for opportunities to stir things up. HATE THOSE PEOPLE MORE THAN ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Of course, one could say that this is why you should have been minding your own business. But, I would have probably done the same thing you did…I try to be nice and helpful before keeping myself out of trouble, and I probably should work on this some more…cause it isn’t doing me any good at all at this point in my life.

  12. A. says:

    I’m totally missing the point, but the scenario stirred me up.

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