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I admit I have only read about 30 of the approximately 90,000 leaked documents. So I need to judge by the opinion of those who are better informed: in this case, Robert M. Gates, who is not only secretary of defense but former director of the CIA and one of our nation’s leading career intelligence experts. He is also something else.
He practices the high English mandarin art of governmental understatement. He is famous for avoiding rhetorical flourishes. If it were given to him to announce to the nation the arrival of Attila the Hun at the gates of the capital ready to put man, woman, child and beast to the sword — his understatement would make it sound like no more than a slight congestion in the evening rush-hour traffic.
So it is worth reviewing Mr. Gates’ alarming words on the damage done by that blond beast Mr. Assange (no understatement for me, thank you). According to The New York Times, Mr. Gates says regarding the WikiLeaks documents:
1. They have “potentially dramatic and grievously harmful consequences” on the lives of Afghans who have helped the United States.
2. “The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world. Intelligence sources and methods, as well as military tactics, techniques and procedures, will become known to our adversaries.”
3. “In the wake of this incident, it will be a real challenge to strike the right balance between security and providing our frontline troops the information they need.” Since those statements from last week, there already are reports that the Taliban are out hunting down our courageous Afghan allies.
If Mr. Assange had perpetrated this outrage against Russia, inevitably there would be a news report a few month later announcing the death of Mr. Assange and his loved ones (should he have any) because of an unlikely street accident. Thank goodness we live in nation of laws — not of executive actions.
But the rule of law will not last long if the law is not used to avenge grievous wrongs committed against our nation.
It is the high duty of our government not to let Mr. Assange walk free (assuming the evidence in court of his espionage is as convincing as the news accounts suggest).
Let the federal prosecutions proceed — wiki, wiki.
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