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Wikileaks stomps on American’s rights

Written By Talisha Schrello

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Our constitutional rights as Americans are being stomped on. We have to look at the issues surrounding our government.There is a Freedom of Information Act that is supposed to provide transparency about the government, but in there contains a National Security Exemption has kept them a secret until WikiLeaks exposed them.I think there is a major abridgement of our fundamental constitutional rights that all Americans deserve. It is time to stand up and not have our rights trampled on like this. The founding fathers drafted our Constitution to protect the very rights that are being nonchalantly taken advantage of.  The national security exemption states “matters specifically authorized under criteria established by an executive order to keep secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and in fact properly classified pursuant to such an executive order.” This system has a three tier classification.The “secret” classification is used to shield material that if disclosed could only be expected to cause serious damage to national security. “Top secret,” is the highest level of classification, and is reserved for material that if revealed could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security. The Freedom of Information Act is an act that protects the public, and articulates that copies of public records are to be made public to the general public. Our rights are being stomped on by the latest leak by the WikiLeaks.WikiLeaks dropped cables on North Korea, which state, “China would clearly ‘not welcome’ any US military presence north of DMZ,” the heavily mined demarcation line that now divides the two Koreas. Also, they contain loose talk and confident predictions of the end of the dynasty which has ruled North Korea for 65 years. This is a major infringement on our rights as Americans. The cables reveal private information about the Chinese, long seen as North Korea’s last protectors against the West. This information could seriously destroy our foreign relationship with North Korea. These cables being leaked depict our nation as an internal threat and “about which even the Chinese seem to be in the dark.” My question is: What right does the WikiLeak organization have to divulge this information?A New York Times article explains that these leaked cables offer a raw look at U.S. diplomacy. It states, “most of them from the past three years provide an unprecedented look at the back room barging by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.”The National Security Exemption aims to protect America at any cost and leaking this information creates a major problem within our own system. Also, it stomps on the very rights America the Constitution? claims to protect. This is an outrage that such threatening information is just thrown out in the public while foreign nations could be forming attacks based on the disclosed information. The same New York Times article states, “The disclosure of the cables is sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.” This is exactly what is going to happen. Foreign nations could form many assumptions from these cables, and that is why we have a National Security Exemption; to protect the nation as a whole as well as individuals. The White House states disclosing the “stolen cables was a reckless and dangerous action and if disclosed could disrupt American operations abroad.”Also, the information is often candid and incomplete information. The cables have given various information regarding secret operations such as: a dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel; thinking about an eventual collapse of North Korea; bargaining to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison; suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government; a global hacking effort and mixed records against terrorism. All of these issues are very controversial and need to be kept secret for the protection of our nation as well as our rights. This information being leaked is a serious threat to our relations with other countries. The Constitution keeps getting stepped on time and time again. This time WikiLeaks have gone too far because this will destroy our nation.Another New York Times article states the very fact presented here, that the cables depict the U.S. haggling to find takers for detainees. The article explains the efforts by the United States to reduce the population of the Guantanamo Bay prison so that it can close. This is another example of the transparency of our government not being protected when they have to buy our fundamental rights as Americans. One of the leaked cables states dangerous individuals have been able to go free or go back into the battlefield without fear of facing an Afghan court.WikiLeaks’ stance on this leak is quite interesting. They said, “We are fearless in our efforts to get the unvarnished truth out to the public.” Also, when information comes in they examine it and decide its relevance to society. They believe that, “publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people.” They use the U.S Supreme Court decision in the Pentagon Papers case to back up their efforts. They state, “only a free and unrestricted press can effectively expose deception in government.”  Also, they look to Thomas Jefferson, who believed in the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and they believe in the media playing a role in preserving the vigilance Thomas Jefferson believed in for our nation. They brag about the amount of secret documents they have leaked to the public.Who are they to decide what is good for our society, and what the public should know and not know? In a way they are trying to act as a segue between society and the government. They are not a government entity and have no right to decide what the nation needs to know. The National Security Exemption is the framework of what our country is built on. The transparency of our government is preserved for our government and not a publishing media organization. The Pentagon Papers is a landmark case in media, but unrestricted press is not the answer to freedom in our nation. The National Security Exemption is in place for a very valid reason. Top secret information that is vital to the preservation of our nation is evidently being exposed by people who have no regard for anything but their reputation as a media outlet for corruption in our government.

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