Vulnerabilities of WikiLeaks

The greatest danger in these WikiLeaks releases is the identification of sources of information, whether casual or clandestine. 

Most diplomatic correspondence is meant for private consumption between Foreign Service Officers [FSO] posted abroad and their Desk Officers in their geographical Bureaus.If the information is critical, the Desk Officers share the content with their appropriate counterparts in other US agencies — directly. 

The FSO’s private assessments of say, the Minister of Foreign Affairs as a horse’s ass, if made public, could make for a rather awkward next meeting; even more-so if the officer includes in the dispatch that the opinion was that of the Minister of Defense. 

To avoid these dispatches from being intercepted and publicized, even unclassified messages were traditionally dispatched “Encrypted For Transmission Only“, or EFTO, and transmitted via restricted diplomatic channels.

The decision to maintain and share these dispatches on a government database — accessible to even the lowest level of government/military employee with a minimum clearance is unthinkable, since the Limited Distribution [LimDis] caveat disappears and any simpleton in the system — from private to flag officer to FSO — can then recount the contents at the next beer-fest or cocktail party for the amusement of all.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton initiated “21st Century Statecraft” to ‘expand openness and combat government censorship in cyberspace‘; the State Dept will host an event at the Newseum with that theme in May. 

I doubt WikiLeaks will be featured.

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