I’ve always thought that the teenaged and 20-something computer hackers that think it’s cool breaking into and sabotaging a national security network like, say, the Pentagon’s shouldn’t be slapped on the wrist by some judge and sent to their room without dessert, as it were, grounded with probation.
No, I want ‘em sent to Leavenworth – how’s that? No Facebook, no MySpace, no MP3 music downloads for the next ten-to-20. Draconianly cruel, aren’t I?
The punks at WikiLeaks, for the most part an anonymous bunch save for founder Julian Assange, are likely beyond their teenage years, but certainly no less a menacing threat, as we’ve come to realize by now.
As a journalist, I suppose I should feel proud that the often-impenetrable steel vault of government stealth was pierced and official secrets were exposed to the sunlight. And part of me would feel that if not for the overriding fact that I’m also an American citizen, one of the 300 million whose safety and security – as well the reputation of our government – Assange and his fellow geeks have immeasurably imperiled.
For that, I want payback.
As Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed this week, these latest disclosures involving classified and sensitive State Department docs jeopardize national security, diplomats, intelligence assets, and our relationships with foreign governments.
The first WikiLeaks assault against this nation, last July, resulted in only the arrest of the U.S. Army private who is suspected of having provided them the stolen Afghan war documents, and a rebuke from the Obama administration.
The second WikiLeaks assault, in October, resulted in nothing more than another rebuke from the Obama administration.
The third and latest assault, this week, again resulted in nothing more than (yet another) rebuke and the initiation of a criminal investigation.
Would someone please sit our woeful-greenhorn-of-a-president and his people down and explain to them that one doesn’t fight the leak of government secrets and other docs with bared teeth and denunciations? I can think of some past presidents and administrations who would never have tolerated the yesteryear equivalents of this embarrassing modern-era cyber assault getting past the first wave as it did in July, or even making it to that.
So how do our president and his people – the ones sworn to protect us against all enemies, foreign and domestic – retaliate against that Scandinavian milquetoast who in the very least should be sitting in a jail cell this very minute being interrogated by CIA agents if not floating down the Riddarfjärden Bay right now with a bullet in his skull?
Well, Mr. President, for starters, an Interpol arrest warrant with Assange’s name on it would be nice.
The bottom line: When it comes to these WikiLeaks geeks and degenerates like them, Mr. President, you take them out. Through capture or covert action. By CIA or by drone. Dead or alive, but take them out. ASAP.
You do this, sir, so as to spare your secretary of state from the humiliation of ever having to spend her whole day – diverted from the critical events in the Middle East or from efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula – dialing up world leaders to apologize for the undiplomatic things our diplomats may have gossiped about them in private cables.
You do this to establish a zero-tolerance for acts of espionage and subversion against us and to serve as an example of what will befall others in the future who do that to us.
But above and beyond any of those reasons, you do this to keep us secure.
You take them out, sir, so as to make a simple credo unmistakably clear: We. Won’t. Tolerate. This.
Not a shot across their bow, nor a flare above them in the sky. No, Mr. President, you lob a direct hit into the side of the SS WikiLeaks to sink them so that their ship of treachery goes down like a lead weight. So that all others who fancy afflicting like antagonism against us are dissuaded most convincingly, with the assurance that they will pay a steep price if they do.
The Cold War may be over, sir, but not the accompanying desire of some in this world to hatch and instigate damaging deeds against us. The threat doesn’t come solely from surly young religious zealots packing explosives in a vehicle parked in a public square, or in their shoes or down their underwear while flying on a plane. The threat also comes from those whose weapon of choice is a mere hand-held mouse.
For treachery, the Rosenbergs went to the electric chair. Aldrich Ames and others are rotting in cages for the rest of their lives for selling out their country and jeopardizing our security.
If Pfc. Bradley Manning – the Army private at the heart of this deception – is eventually convicted in his court-martial, a life sentence in the brig would be too good for the traitorous rat. No way. He deserves a date with a firing squad. Don’t think there’d be any shortage of volunteers wanting to sign up for the honor, either.
The CIA’s torture of Iraqi prisoners was a deplorable deed. But Assange suddenly makes waterboarding a very palatable punishment for at least one person: Julian Assange.
This pasty-faced prick, with a devil-may-care disdain for us and our security, has as much declared war on America.
I am all for free speech and the freedom of the internet. But what WikiLeaks has wrought collides with a greater concern: The necessity to protect and preserve confidential government communications from compromise, especially those whose disclosure might endanger our foreign relations, international objectives, or, more paramountly, our national security and the safety of Americans both home and abroad.
These WikiLeaks punks have proved that they don’t care about these. In the pursuit of fame, notoriety, and perhaps to draw humongous traffic to their website and reap hugely-profitable advertising revenue, they have put profit over prudence, vainglory over virtue.
So they deserve prison or death. And they ought to be quaking in their Birkenstocks, these reckless shits, wondering if, at any moment, their servers aren’t going to be taken out, or – worse – them.
The lives of a handful of geeks hunched over computers in a building somewhere in Stockholm, brazenly net-posting reams of documents and secrets and, in so doing, exposing our country to harm, really don’t amount to a hill of beans when compared to the dead-serious need in this post-9/11 age to preserve, protect, and defend the lives and security of a nation of 300 million.
If Obama and his people don’t grasp that, or what a blunder they have made in their limp-wristed reaction to all this thus far, heaven help us all.
CYBER MONDAY, AS WE ALL KNOW, was the day, according to the New York Times, “that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work…and buying what they liked.”
Lesser-known, I’m guessing, was Pink Slip Tuesday. That, of course, was the day when a lot of those “otherwise productive” workers who were slacking off on the job the previous day were fired. Ouch.