Much of the attention in the press following the release by Wikileaks of over 90,000 classified documents from U.S. military operations and intelligence in Afghanistan has been off the mark.
The big issue here is not how the disclosures are going to affect the debate in Washington and the U.S. over the future course of the war, but rather which institutions and individuals in the U.S. military and above are going to be held accountable for what may be one of the greatest leaks of classified operational intelligence in U.S. history.
The leaks reveal a pervasive failure in intelligence methods and document handling.
On the nature of this intelligence fiasco, see
Jill R. Aitoro, Security Controls at Their Worst? Cyber-Secuirty Report, nextgov.com, July 27, 2010
“WikiLeaks Files’ ‘Potential Threat’ Continues to Rattle Washington,” PBS New Hour, July 27, 2010
Why was nothing done by the U.S. or the U.K. to prevent the publication of these detailed documents revealing U.S. intellignce sources and methods?
What is going to be done, and how soon, to fix the systems and procedures that made these leaks possible?
Who is going to be held accountable?
These are the key questions that need to be immediately addressed.
Of course, now that the documents are public, much will be learned from detailed analyses of their content over the coming months, and years. That is all highly interesting, but should not distract us from the nature of the intelligence failure that has occurred, and the urgent need to fix at once the defects in the system that allowed these massive leaks to happen.
The Trenchant Observer
Comments are invited. Please add to the discussion and tell the Observer why he is wrong. Or right. Or some of one and some of the other.