WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan Disclosures Are A Dud

According to Andrew Exum, writing at the WSJ.  This is a relief:

ANYONE who has spent the past two days reading through the 92,000 military field reports and other documents made public by the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks may be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. I’m a researcher who studies Afghanistan and have no regular access to classified information, yet I have seen nothing in the documents that has either surprised me or told me anything of significance.

This is not:

The documents do reveal some specific information about United States and NATO tactics, techniques, procedures and equipment that is sensitive, and will cause much consternation within the military. It may even result in some people dying. Thus the White House is right to voice its displeasure with WikiLeaks.

I understand the temptation of outlets such as the NYT to publish classified materials that come into their hands.  And in this case, the NYT itself is blameless for publishing them, since the information was going to be released and widely disseminated anyway.

But I have no faith in the NYT or most other media to properly assess the damage classified materials can cause, motives for leaking it, and their own motives for publishing such materials.  The media — especially outlets such as the NYT that are most likely to be leaked to on matters of major political or strategic significance — cannot even keep their liberal bias from impacting routine editorial decisions. 

Thus, the NYT and others spike stories about Democrats (see Edwards, John, cheating on his dying wife, having a baby, then causing an aid claim the baby is his, while possibly paying the mother off with campaign funds) while beating stories about Republicans like a rented mule (see McCain, John, unconfirmed rumors about being too close to a lobbyist).  No doubt they  exercise the same journalistic judgment with respect to publishing leaked classified materials.

Moreover, reporters often display a shocking lack of knowledge about military matters in particular.  They simply do not have the experience (neither do I, for that matter) to judge the impact of such leaks on military operations and soldiers on the ground who are in harm’s way due to decisions by our political leaders.  Yet they exercise that inadequate judgment in ways that further their preconceived journalistic narratives whenever faced with the question of whether to run with such information.

Via Instapundit.

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 9:23 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] As I said, reporters cannot possibly understand the potential impact of such disclosures on people on the ground.  To my own discredit, I was focused on the direct impact on our soldiers and U.S. war policy, and I neglected to think about the impact on Afghans who have been helping them.  So did WikiLeaks.  When Afghan informants start to die,and it appears that they will, their blood is on the hands of Julian Assange and his associates. […]

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