26 Jul 2010

Wikileaks’ Latest

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The lefties are gasping and spinning furiously today over the Wikileaks Afghan revelations, but Wired‘s reaction speaks for a lot of informed observers who find most of this very old news.

Longtime Afghanistan watchers are diving into Wikileaks’ huge trove of unearthed U.S. military reports about the war. And they’re surfacing, as we initially did, with pearls of the obvious and long-revealed. Andrew Exum, an Afghanistan veteran and Center for a New American Security fellow, compared the quasi-revelations about (gasp!) Pakistani intelligence sponsorship of Afghan insurgents and (shock-horror!) Special Operations manhunts to news that the Yankees may have lost the 2004 American League pennant. …

Adds a former intelligence contractor who used to produce intelligence summaries, “There will be a lot of interesting tidbits but nothing earthshaking.” And it’s those “interesting tidbits” that makes the WikiLeaks trove significant. There’s a bias in journalism toward believing that what’s secret is inherently a hive of hidden truth. That operating principle animates reporters’ practice of breaking down governmental secrecy. But it can also create a misleading expectation that leaks represent huge new revelations.

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