Part of my skepticism about the government's self-serving penchant for secrecy is because I worked for Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) during the debate over Iraq's so-called "weapons of mass destruction." As you know, "WMDs" provided the Bush administration's primary rationale for the war. Graham, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, did what few other senators did: read all the intelligence reports on Iraq. He did not find the case for war with Iraq persuasive. The Bush administration manipulated the public by boiling down a 90-page secret intelligence report into 25 pages, giving only the case for WMDs, and for war. As Graham noted in this Washington Post op-ed, by law he was muzzled -- he could not release or quote from secret documents that doubted Iran's WMDs. Before the war in Iraq, Congress did not have a full and fair debate over whether it made sense. The nation rushed blindly into war without thinking it through, and we have paid the price in lives and treasure since. If Wikileaks had been around back in 2002, might war in Iraq have been avoided? Or at least, might American government officials have debated the run-up to war more fully?
Just thınk ıf our "ıntelligence" on Iraq had been made publıc before the war rather than trustıng blındly ın the CIA and Bush administration. It could have been pointed out that much of our so-called ıntellıgence about WMDs was comıng from aggrieved ex-pats with an ax to grind and Ahmed Chalabi, the ambitious former minister of oil who, with the assistance of a lobbying powerhouse, hoped to be ınstalled as presıdent of Iraq by the US. That ıs the true scandal.
Certainly, Wikileaks has performed a valuable public service by leaking battlefield reports in Iraq and Afghanistan, including horrific video of a US helicopter attacked that killed at least 11 US citizens. The American public has a right to know how it is being represented abroad.
Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers regarding the Vietnam War, observed in 2008: "Many, if not most, covert operations deserve to be disclosed by a free press. They are often covert not only because they are illegal but because they are wildly ill-conceived and reckless. "Sensitive" and "covert" are often synonyms for "half-assed," "idiotic," and "dangerous to national security," as well as "criminal."