It seems like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen is talking past WikiLeaks with this argument:
“What I don’t think those who are in charge of Wikileaks understand is we live in a world where just a little bitty piece of information can be added to a network of information and really open up an understanding that just wasn’t there before,” Mullen told CNN. “I would hope that those who are responsible for this would, at some point in time, think about the responsibility that they have for lives that they’re exposing and the potential that’s there and stop leaking this information.”
To the contrary: WikiLeaks shows every sign of understanding we live in that world — probably better than most governments understand it. Remember what leaker PFC Bradley Manning told grey hat hacker and journo Adrian Lamo, as reported by my Wired colleagues Kevin Poulsen and Kim Zetter:
“Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed,” Manning wrote. “It’s open diplomacy. World-wide anarchy in CSV format. It’s Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth. It’s beautiful, and horrifying.”
Manning described himself to Lamo as a “source, not a volunteer” for WikiLeaks, but it seems fair to say they share a certain view of the transformative potential of transparency. (To put it as neutrally as I can.) Why would Mullen’s argument compel WikiLeaks to cancel its document dump?