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Time for Obama to shut down WikiLeaks' Assange

Yesterday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced in London that he is preparing to release the remaining 15,000 classified documents he possesses, in defiance of the Pentagon’s demands that he return and delete all copies of the classified materials he illegally possesses. Asked point blank if he plans to publish the remaining documents, Assange replied: “Absolutely.”

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell responded by declaring such a decision by WikiLeaks would be the “height of irresponsibility.” Earlier in the day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said U.S. intelligence had confirmed that both al Qaeda and the Taliban leaders had given orders to comb through the documents for the identities of Afghans who had helped the United States. Assange dismissed these concerns, declaring, “We are not obligated to protect other people’s sources,” and said that the Afghan people “should know about” who among them has engaged in “genuinely traitorous” acts (translation: helping the United States).

With his appearance yesterday, Assange has thrown down the gauntlet. The Obama administration had warned that if WikiLeaks did not comply, the United States would “make them do the right thing.” Now Assange has told the administration what it can do with its threats. He has given them fair warning that he will not comply with their demands and fully intends to follow through and release the remainder of the classified documents he possesses. What is President Obama going to do about it?

The United States has the cyber capabilities to prevent WikiLeaks from disseminating those materials. Will President Obama order the military to deploy those capabilities? And will he take action to bring Assange to justice? Assange is clearly worried that he will. The Wall Street Journal reports that Assange


said he still fears that the U.S. is trying to have him arrested for publishing the classified documents. He was meant to appear in person at the panel discussion about the media at London's Frontline Club, but dialed in by Skype instead. Asked by an audience member for his current location, he said "no comment." He appeared to have dyed his trademark white hair brown, and to have cut it in a close crop.

If Assange remains free and the documents he possesses are released, Obama will have no one to blame but himself.

By Marc Thiessen  | August 13, 2010; 9:59 AM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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Comments

Publish publish publish!!! I say shine the light of the sun on every last scrap!!!

Those who think they rule the world need a MAJOR wake-up call, and the sooner and louder that call is the better!

WikiLeaks should be supported generously by all who want to see truth, justice, diplomacy & peace.

Posted by: Rubiconski | August 13, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"The United States has the cyber capabilities to prevent WikiLeaks from disseminating those materials. Will President Obama order the military to deploy those capabilities?"

Wow. What a disturbing statement. All national security-threatening leaks aside, this is not China or North Korea. If the government somehow "censors" Wikileaks, then the internet will simply route around it. That's how it was designed, remember?

If the Pentagon wants to do something about Assange, they'll have to find him and arrest him. Maybe the CIA will render him? :)

Posted by: SlothLovesChunk | August 13, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

More bull from the torture apologist.

Posted by: aartmann112004 | August 13, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Lets get to the heart of the matter. Assange and the hate-America Reds who commented above have allied themselves with a horror. They can no longer pimp for the Goolag, Killing Fields, Lyubyanka, Red Square goosestep parades, Aparatchiks, KGB and the secret police.

But the can and do now fight for Burkas, burning girl's schools, murdering teachers who teach girls, rule by terror, rejection of democracy, rule by an illiterate theocracy..and all that that brings.

In other words They are the medieval anti-civilization activists who hope to bring about the downfall of the West and the murder of all those who espouse the ideals of the west.

As such Assange is now and enemy combatant. He should be arrested...before the Afghan families, whose members he has helped murder, track him down and execute on him one of the key principles of Pashtunwali - the Pashtun code of honor, Badal..i.e revenge.

As for the Reds on this board, who continually put their hated of America out in the open, let them look themselves in the mirror, as horrible a sight as that might be, and take a dispassionate inventory of their ethics and morality. They might be shocked at what comes out.

Posted by: wjc1va | August 13, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The "reds" are within the DODs own ranks. But Marc is too stupid to admit that. They should be doing damage control from within, first. Second they should be interviewing every soldier that has come in contact with Manning. Third, his commanding officer, his NCO and the rest of his division should be verbally chastised by Gates in public. Wikileaks next move probably wont be hindered. But what is the worst embarrassment? A pending release of documents they know about already or a broken intelligence apparatus?

Posted by: sorxthan | August 13, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

This is a double-edged sword, isn't it? It's hard to tell if this is a cry security or a pretext for internet control. What's next, the Drudge Report?

I don't recall the Post asking Nixon to shut their own paper down. I guess Watergate was too juicy to take a back seat to the Pentagon Papers. Or maybe, just maybe, it has to do with party?

Posted by: silverwater | August 13, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Since corporations own any media outlet in the US and real Journalism is DEAD, I totally support Mr. Assange. The truth has a way of rising to the surface and we all owe a debt of gratitude to this brave man for facilitating that. When we have 8 years of an administration that did everything to destroy this nation, it is important that we shine a light into these dark corners so the American people can see the truth. Cheney and Bush didn't care about the truth, but We the People do.

Posted by: spiral115 | August 13, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

We are witnessing the frantic thrashings of a broken, challenged government.

All hail the data warriors. The information age is here to stay, Thiessen.

Posted by: adestata | August 13, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Assange's statements cross some new lines that he previously had not. The democratically elected government of Afghanistan is the people the US is helping. The Taliban/Al-Qaeda are their enemies. The same is true of Pakistan. By calling the people who assist their government "traitors" he's moved from being a faux journalist into the territory of providing material support for terrorists.

Posted by: Nymous | August 13, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Thiessen wrote speeches for Donald Rumsfeld for years, and still seems to share his old boss's suspicion that the American people - and other citizens of the world - cannot handle and do not deserve the truth about what our soldiers do when they invade foreign countries.

Heinrich Himmler likewise insisted that the activities of his troops be kept secret, but that policy proved disastrous for civilians who got in their way and for the German taxpayers who underwrote the project.

History will rapidly forget Mr. Thiessen, but it will surely remember his old boss as both a woeful strategist and a strong proponent of government deception during wartime. History will never forgive an American electorate that continues to allow their military to defy rational scrutiny.

Posted by: hanley12 | August 13, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Please correct me if I am wrong.
I thought the 15,000 documents had already been released in an encrypted file called "insurance" and that wikileaks had only to publish the key to un-encrypt the file.

Posted by: spamsux1 | August 13, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Obviously Obama’s Pentagon does NOT want American people to know the facts about Afghan war that has been raging since 2001 because of Pakistani duplicity.

US troubles in Afghanistan started when Bush allowed Musharraf to spirit away by airlift hundreds, if not thousands, of Taliban operatives cornered by the advancing Northern Alliance in Kunduz in November, 2001. Pakistan relocated those Taliban cadres including Mullah Mohammed Omar in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan and Haqqani network (HQN) in North Waziristan from where Mullah Omar’s QST and Haqqani’s HQN have been planning raids in Afghanistan ever since.

As long as US government and news media continue to ignore Taliban’s Pakistani connections in fueling and sustaining Afghan insurgency as reported by Matt Waldman in ‘The sun in the sky‘ on 6/13/10, corroborated by WikiLeaks leaks on 7/25/10 and then further corroborated by Chris Alexander, Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005 and Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan from 2005 until 2009 in his article on 7/30/10 titled ‘The huge scale of Pakistan‘s complicity‘, problems faced by US Afghan mission will continue to not only persist but compound.

All American officers in southern Afghanistan know that they can not prevail in the ongoing military operations, unless Taliban strongholds across the Durand Line in North Waziristan and Baluchistan are neutralized. Adm Mullen and Gen Patraeus evidently do not want to acknowledge that hard options have to be considered if their soldiers are not to die at the hands of radicals, armed and trained across the Durand Line. This is where rubber meets the road for the famous General.

As Matt Waldman reported, “support for the Afghan Taliban is ‘official Pakistani ISI policy’ and is backed at the highest levels of Pakistan’s civilian administration. Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude. There is thus a strong case that the ISI orchestrates, sustains and shapes the overall insurgent campaign in Afghanistan.”

The ISI is said to compensate families of suicide bombers to the tune of 200,000 Pakistani rupees, claims the report. Thus US aid to bankrupt Pakistan finances the death of US/NATO soldiers in Afghanistan. So in a way, US is financing the death of its own troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistani government issued its usual denials just as it had denied umpteen times the existence of Mullah Mohammed Omar’s ‘Quetta Shura Taliban (QST)’ in the provincial capital Quetta of Baluchistan. But General Stanley McChrystal called QST as the biggest threat to US Afghan mission in his report to President Obama in August, 2009.

Pakistan has denied presence of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil umpteen times and just recently Adm Mike Mullen repeated in Islamabad that Osama is hiding in a very secure place in Pakistan.

Posted by: simplesimon33 | August 13, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Assage is a pig! His supporters on this rag are as well.

Posted by: madmike272 | August 13, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I think Theissen used his resume so that he could get his lies published in the WaPo. If I lie on my resume, perhaps the WaPo will give me column space to publish the truth.

Posted by: LeftGuy | August 13, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Since corporations own any media outlet in the US and real Journalism is DEAD, I totally support Mr. Assange. The truth has a way of rising to the surface and we all owe a debt of gratitude to this brave man for facilitating that. When we have 8 years of an administration that did everything to destroy this nation, it is important that we shine a light into these dark corners so the American people can see the truth. Cheney and Bush didn't care about the truth, but We the People do.

Posted by: spiral115 |

=======================================

Do you really think Assage gives a damn about the well-being of the United States? Oh, and by the way, Bush left office over 20 months ago.

Posted by: bbface21 | August 13, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Sorry torture boy: Apparently 'only' 92000 'secret' documents have been published and there are at least another 15000 that may be published. They cover a mere 8 years, only partially obviously since not everything 'secret' has been published.

If anything speaks of declassifying pretty much EVERYTHING so that WE know what a true flop the Afghanistan intervention has been since 2001, nothing does.

Let the light shine, torture boy, even if those who oh so patriotically rationalized torture go to jail. Where they belong!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | August 13, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

And to think Time magazine called Assange paranoid for telling them he was under surveillance. Of course he's under surveillance. Of course black ops would love to take him out, which seems to be what Mr. Thiessen wants. But it would be too obvious, and I don't think it will happen. Of course Mr. Thiessen will claim that he just wants Assange arrested and extradited to the US, but even he can't be stupid enough to think Iceland or Sweden is going to do that.

Posted by: bragova | August 13, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen is as credible as Palin who also tweets in today with similar impotence and indignation.

Pillars of a decaying empire, they are. Rather comic, though perhaps not up to
Morrell's level of standup.

Assange is a hero, and all he had to do was add SSL and TOR to an Eternity File System.

Keep on crushing bastards.

Posted by: Major_Variola_ret | August 13, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

erm washingtonpost, seriously. this is a reader from europe. we are used to serious, qualitative journalism here. we - I am not alone with this, there are some followers -, we are losing patience now. WHAT IS THIS HAMPELMANN doing again in this newspaper?

sry, again: this is nothing but a speechwriter for the same texas guy who must right now be seriously peeing into his pants. fear of den haag. that's all i can see here.

WP: ENOUGH. i am searching for a better newspaper to click now. to find this clown in your newspaper once was a shock enough. twice is twice too much and once definitely too much to make a reader click your page again.

publish an official apologize - to YOUR OWN READERS - and - above all - TO YOUR OWN STAFF - for this behaviour. giving away really expensive place. for a pip who never was never is and never will be a journalist. who was and is what he is: author and responsible of PR staff which made QUITE A PART OF THE GLOBE having serious ZWERCHFELLKATER about you there. if you want to make your own country look even more ridiculous for the world around you, feel free to go on with this cheap PR publishing in your newspaper.

WE READERS - used to qualitative journalism - prefer to see quality and not rubbish PR for mister stoneage.

seriously WP. it's time to apologize. tell your own staff you're sorry and won't do this again. this is THEIR job, THEIR NEWSPAPER PLACE and THEIR income you're giving away. (or let's say honestly: THEIR JOB, THEIR PLACE AND THEIR INCOME YOU LET THIS CLOWN STEAL THEM!!!)

Posted by: Blumenkuebel | August 13, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

its not an easy call to side with assange and wikileaks over exposing afghans who have helped the US. however the US would certainly never object to exposing those who worked against the US, even if it threatened their lives. so this is still in the end only about politics, and whether an ostensibly benevolent nation like the US deserves protection from real scrutiny. assange is not american and is under no obligation to give the US a more gentle treatment than he would any other nation

Posted by: peabody3000 | August 13, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"The United States has the cyber capabilities to prevent WikiLeaks from disseminating those materials."?

Seriously? Every indication *I've* seen suggests that the cyber capabilities of the US Government are at least 5 years *behind* a site like WikiLeaks (and, WikiLeaks isn't even terribly advanced).

Posted by: phoomp | August 13, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

"The United States has the cyber capabilities to prevent WikiLeaks from disseminating those materials"

oh really? please tell me more using the term only the truly ignorant use when discussing technology.

CYBERWAR CYBERWAR CYBERWAR

Posted by: jiji1 | August 14, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Wikileaks is hosted in Sweden (a currently US-sympathetic EU member). Do you intend to declare war before taking out fully legal websites in Sweden?

Sweden does have issues with a number of US websites, hosting what we classify as child pornography. Do we have a carte blanche to hit those US sites or would you defend your rights under the First Amendment?

Posted by: sassabrassamandelmassa | August 14, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

It's impossible to stop the extra 15,000 pages from being released, there'd be back-up copies scattered around the world by now. It is also impossible to touch Julian Assange, who is so high a profile figure, and, who is covered by international and national laws, that any attempt to "shut him down" would be met with disastrous consequences. And, the American government and military know it; in fact, here in Australia, it's been reported that the Australian government hasn't even been approached by America to do anything about Assange, that by itself says it all.

What we are witnessing here is a palpable fear of what will be disclosed when the last of this stuff hits the news, you can bet it will paint an even worse picture of American military and diplomatic failure in Afghanistan, if that's even possible after the revelations coming out of the material already available. "Collateral damage" has never sounded more like doublespeak than now.

Posted by: icurhuman2 | August 14, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Vee haf ways of making you stop talk.

Posted by: Ruprecht | August 14, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Let's say the US would put Assange into Gitmo.
What would they archieve?

The remaining documents, probably together with similar documents for Iraq (if you believe the coverage of the Guardian), will be in the insurance file with is widely distributed.

There are enough other people in Wikileaks who can simply email the password to the insurance file around.

If you heard the press conference
Assange described that he meant with “genuinely traitorous” acts. To tell the US military false stories to get the US to attack and imprison people who are innocent.

Posted by: ChristianKl | August 14, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"The United States has the cyber capabilities to prevent WikiLeaks from disseminating those materials."

Well, except that this is utter bullsh*t, unless you're suggesting Obama should just pull the plug on the internet. If you're going to make some wildly improbably claim about the capabilities of a leader you disagree with for the sake of generating some outrage about his inaction, then only expect the dumbest among us to consider you a credible source.

Posted by: Bookish_ATX | August 14, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I view Mr. Thiessen as a political hack, in the great fascist tradition. His opinion here deserves ridicule.

One important reason most US citizens (like myself) harbor some measure of disdain and distrust of their federal government, as survey-after-survey has shown, is its habit of denoting nearly everything it does as classified information. This immoral activity prevents us from knowing the type and volume and scope of wasteful, self-serving nonsense perpetrated by our "leaders" in the name of serving us. We are not as stupid as Mr. Theissen thinks we are. We deserve to know. Wikileaks.org is a boon to every US citizen. I will continue to donate my money to support them.

Posted by: yoinkflotsam1 | August 16, 2010 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Yet more state sponsored NAZI behavour that we have come to expect from MARC THIESSEN.

Marc oh do give over you little grinning nazi bastard.

It will be published an nothing you or obama and all the cyberbarmy army you have will stop it. remember MILLIONS of us have the 1.3 gb insurance file ready and poised like athletes to deliever to the world when you take action nailing assange or the wikileaks servers. we will rise up and continue the work and the sooner you wake up MARC and accept it the better. We all know about your past. Writing speeches for men who sold arms to IRAQ in the first place. do you remember that MARC? we do!

No bugger off back to the gestapo cave you crawled from and sit down and think and start to accept you can not nor ever win against everyone on the internet seeking the truth. you will not supress and put us under your jackboot.

Posted by: nbooradley | August 16, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

and yes indeed they have already been published we HAVE the files in the form of an encrypted IES.

All it takes is Marc and Obama cronies making their move and BANG the key will be released and those 15 thousand dox will be spread all over the world leaving Marc and his claims of cyberwarfare in tatters.

Marc is one of these NAZI types who thinks he can scare and oppress the truth. hes in for a wake up call. and I swear by christ if you are EVER stupid enough Marc to crawl from your hole to my country i'll show you what TERROR really means.

Posted by: nbooradley | August 16, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Mark is right, but don't expect Obama to do what's right and protect our National Security, it's not his way, he'd rather sell out America. Obama should shut down WikiLeaks but if anything he's allied with this American hating scum. Face it, they both have blood on their hands by continuing to allow secrets such as this go unabated during a time of war as they are emboldening our enemies, threatening our military and those in the nations who have helped us now are being revealed, likely at the cost of their and their families lives.

The useful idiots on this forum who believe otherwise are not worthy to live in this great nation since they have such contempt for the freedoms and liberty our founders and military have shed blood and their lives.

'The One' and his WikiLeak's minions should be charged with treason, but I wouldn't hold my breath that it will ever come to be.

Posted by: digger2222 | August 16, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Wow digger2222, must be tough being a redneck "dey took our jerrrrrbs"
you seem to have a terrible grasp understanding that Julian Assange being from a place called Australia (check it out with an atlas you can't miss it) makes your arguement for TREASON laughable.

Guess what redneck! if you are NOT from america you can't be tried for treason! I know this is hard to understand with that little pea rattling around in your head but do try dear boy!.

What you need to FACE is the FACT that blood is AWASH on the hands of Americans and its allies so quit harping on that your good old boys are in danger. there is not a shred of truth and if you care to provide FACTS please do. I expect it will be a long time waiting before you can muster those.

Rest assured matey more dox will be made available and more leaks over time because they speak the TRUTH and that is what you and people like Marc hate. THE TRUTH! because it exposes people like you for exactly what you are.

Btw I neither live nor wish to live in the United States! Given its track record I'd be happy to spend the rest of my days on the moon if given the choice between the USA or there.

Keep it mate and all your talk of bullshit liberty and freedom!

Posted by: nbooradley | August 17, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

couple more articles that may be of interest to the sane of this newspaper readership.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100816/04194310635.shtml

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/08/cyberwar-wikileaks/

These are people that Understand technology and the internet. quite unlike the laughable kneejerker Marc and his village idiots like digger2222

Posted by: nbooradley | August 17, 2010 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Just in case this fellow isn't aware, Obama can't do squat. First, this Wikileaks fellow is in another country which means he's out of our jurisdiction, which means US laws don't apply to him. Second, they can't pull anything off the internet because it isn't controled by the fed. Meaning the federal government(FCC) has no say on what can be on the internet. Third, even if this fellow was in the US, he couldn't be charged, only the person that leaked the information can be charged. And no, I'm not in favor of what this guy is doing, I'm just telling you what the Constitution and our laws allow us to do. It doesn't allow presidents to act like a dictator in which this editor is asking for.

Posted by: mjj4677 | August 18, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Apparently these documents are only suitable for the eyes of the 850,000 privileged Americans, not the average taxpayer paying their salaries or the average soldier fighting their wars. I'd expect this kind of secrecy from North Korea, but not a free country like America purports to be. We have 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Time to take back our freedoms. End these idiotic wars now.

Posted by: idontlikeyour | August 18, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey WP, this comment board is really lame. The latest posts should appear at the top, not the bottom. There should be links to respond. If you want to see a great comment board, go to huffingtonpost.com ... or you can just watch the world go by as your readers trickle away into the wilderness of the internet.

Posted by: idontlikeyour | August 18, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"The United States has the cyber capabilities to prevent WikiLeaks from disseminating those materials."

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAA....THIS MADE MY DAY.

Hey buddy, get out of that cave and see the world. They don't have the capabilities to pet a dog let alone interfere with other countries net policies. Oh, yeah...unless it's Afganistan.

Posted by: chuchu1 | August 18, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

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