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Posted at 12:58 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

How about stopping 'one guy with a laptop'?

By Marc Thiessen

On Fox and Friends this morning, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs downplayed the WikiLeaks disclosures, declaring, "We should never be afraid of one guy who plopped down $35 and bought a web address.... Let's not be scared of one guy with a laptop." Of course, this flies in the face of the dire warnings from State Department legal adviser Harold Koh that the publication of classified documents by WikiLeaks would:

Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals -- from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security; Place at risk on-going military operations, including operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in human beings and illicit arms, violent criminal enterprises and other actors that threaten global security; and, Place at risk on-going cooperation between countries -- partners, allies and common stakeholders -- to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability.

Sounds like we should be very afraid. As former president Clinton explained Tuesday, "I'll be very surprised if some people don't lose their lives" as a result of the disclosure.

But with all respect to Gibbs, the issue is not whether Americans are afraid of "one guy with a laptop;" the issue is why the Obama administration can't seem to STOP "one guy with a laptop" from repeatedly releasing America's closely held secrets.

What can be done? Over at the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol says the time has come for Congress to get into the act.

I suspect sufficient legal bases already exist for whatever presidential findings, authorizations, and orders would be needed to be given to intelligence agencies, the military, and federal investigative agencies to do what they need to do to defeat WikiLeaks. But perhaps not. In any case, there's one institution that can quickly find out. Congress has just come back into session. Congress can have emergency hearings -- in closed session, if necessary -- to find out if the executive branch has the necessary means to defeat WikiLeaks. If it doesn't, Congress can provide additional means and authorities to those that already exist. But in either case, Congress can act, in an expeditious and bipartisan manner, to encourage and authorize the use by the executive branch of all necessary means to respond to and defeat WikiLeaks.

Kristol is right. A lame duck session of Congress should be focused on two things -- keeping the doors of government open until the newly-elected Congress can be seated, and dealing with urgent threats to U.S. national security. WikiLeaks constitutes just such threat. The Obama administration has failed to deal with this danger. The time has come for Congress to step up and help them do so.

By Marc Thiessen  | December 1, 2010; 12:58 PM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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Comments

Recycling Bill Kristol is what AEI thinktankers do -- it's in their conservative DNA.

No, I'm not afraid of one guy with a laptop. I'm concerned that the Pentagon and the State Department cannot protect classified information, whether or not it should have been classified in the first place.

But to be told anything by the chubby torture boy, given a platform to spout on anything from Sharron Angle, to Guantanamo, to Wikileaks (now that's a barely representative spread of his ignorance on issues), goes against my grain. He is, after all, a mere third tier former speechwriter, doesn't travel, has no primary sources, and just sits in his AEI cubicle and makes stuff up borrowing Drudge-like from what others have already written, whether right or wrong. Shame on the Post!

Posted by: harper-d | December 1, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"...the issue is not whether Americans are afraid of "one guy with a laptop;" the issue is why the Obama administration can't seem to STOP "one guy with a laptop" from repeatedly releasing America's closely held secrets."
*****************************

Closely held secrets? That doesn't describe anything I'm aware of in the current WikiLeaks batch.

It does, however, describe revelation of the identity of a CIA agent. Can you remind us all, Mr. Thiessen, what that was about?

Posted by: abqcleve | December 1, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

C'mon. John Conyer's son just had two laptops stolen. Call in an airstrike.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | December 1, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

More right-wing fear-mongering.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 1, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

As interesting as it is to hear what everyone already knew - that countries like people don't trust each other and talk one side while playing the other - it's far from a security threat.

If any of these officials actually believe that each is being 100 percent honest with them then the fool they should be afraid of stares them in the mirror every morning.

President Obama is more than aware of the rules involving freedom of speech and he and Congress would be wise to be careful about how far they go to dismantle this site.

In other news other countries have warrants out for the arrest of the producer of Wiki leaks and thus far have also been unable to bring him to justice. But like any other News organization-stopping him from speaking will not be that simple - this is not the cold war - pleas refrain from the all the Yellow Journalism.

Most people would not even know about this site if you geniuses didn't plaster the news all over the net. So I wonder can you be considered an accomplice to whatever crime Wiki leaks is guilty of?

Posted by: DSmith2010 | December 1, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I hate to break it to the writer concerned about the "CIA agent", but anyone in the world could follow her to CIA headquarters. It has been done before, with much ease. No comparison here to the WikiLeaks situation, or Philip Agee in the 70's. Libby was prosecuted for lying about it, and it is in the past, unless of course, it furthers the blind contempt of the left. WikiLeaks puts thousands in danger, from those who assisted us in Iraw and Afghanistan, to diplomats in all foreign countries who gave us information. Sorry, but Valerie Plame does not and cannot compare to this.

Posted by: d5e2s | December 1, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Believe it was WIlly Nelson who said, the internet is more dangerous than the Atomic bomb. Proof no information flouting around is secure.

Posted by: dangreen3 | December 1, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama administration can't seem to STOP "one guy with a laptop" from repeatedly releasing America's closely held secrets.

I must be missing something. America's closely held secrets? Didn't a PFC in a war zone download these files and send them to this laptop that is going to destroy the world with them? I may not be a professor of English but doesn't being closely held require it to be difficult to take and isn't a secret something few people know.

The cat's out of the bag too many people have access to the material and US jurisdiction only goes so far. Australia and what ever country the server is in may have the right and the jurisdiction to stop the release of information but thinking the US government can dictate what can and cannot be released by a Australian citizen in Sweden is, I hope, ridiculous. If US law has jurisdiction in Sweden over an Australian it would follow that Iranian law would have jurisdiction in Canada over a US citizen. That's not a thought I am comfortable with.

Posted by: plysle | December 1, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Someone please tell Robert Gibbs to just call in a Rolling Stones reporter and he will be called out on the carpet and fired- without acting like an idiot!

Posted by: Spark77777 | December 1, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

YES, he is doing good job. Rather than blaming him for the trash, he should be commanded and praised for his thankless and very risky job. He has put his life in danger in exposing the most powerful nation on this globe. If I have power, I can award him the Nobel Peace Prize too.
Why Hillary Clinton blamed the messenger, who has opened the dirty dump rather than the messages, which are nothing more than the black side of America. Shamelessly our diplomats are doing dirty intelligent gatherings and crisscrossing dirty war gimmicks and dividing each other only to establish our hegemony

Posted by: citysoilverizonnet | December 1, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The private who leaked the information could be executed.
As for the creepy Wikileaks guy, he needs to be caught and punished.
The Wikileaks guy is mentally-unstable; he's immature, reckless, careless, irresponsible and simply doesn't care what the repercussions to his action affect the
rest of the world.
This is not acceptable.

Posted by: ohioan | December 1, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the views expressed by citysoilverizonnet |

Posted by: kms123 | December 1, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The private who leaked the information could be executed.
As for the creepy Wikileaks guy, he needs to be caught and punished.
The Wikileaks guy is mentally-unstable; he's immature, reckless, careless, irresponsible and simply doesn't care what the repercussions to his action affect the
rest of the world.
This is not acceptable.

Posted by: ohioan | December 1, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

You could say the same for those he exposed for killing civilians and violating international law. And your description of Wikileaks also aptly fits most those people we have in our international affairs.

Posted by: alex35332 | December 1, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who was in office or affiliated with those in office during the worst terrorist attack in the U.S. should be careful what they say.

Posted by: rlj611 | December 1, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Just exactly what ex post facto laws and bills of attainder do you propose the Congress should pass to "defeat" Wikileaks, that won't apply to your own little racket of passing along classified information? More specifically, just whose national sovreignty do you feel can be violated to deal with perpetrators other than yourself?

In days of yore this stuff would have gone straight to the Kremlin or Jerusalem. Now it goes to Wikileaks and the rest of us get to see it too. For this I should feel outraged?

Posted by: fzdybel | December 1, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

These leaks are extremly dangerous for not only US but several other countries. Though, I am a great supporter of freedom of expression but in this special case, a nation's freedom is at stake. Wikileaks has no right to play with the nations' security and safety of its people. The guy involved must be prosecuted in exemplar manner so that such deeds do not get repeated anywhere.

Posted by: MY_CANADA | December 1, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

"These leaks are extremly dangerous for not only US but several other countries."

Yeah. Iran thinks the leak is an American plot. And somebody in Libya is in big trouble for leaking Qaddafi's domestic arrangements. American diplomats will be getting fewer of these choice morsels in future. Cut off from the gossip grapevine, our diplomats will now be left guessing: what are the rest of them saying about *us*?

The exposure from the latest batch of leaked documents could cause some governments to have to slow down in their cooperation with us. But that's only because said cooperation is highly unpopular in their own countries. It's all part and parcel of our reliance upon despots. Do we really need diplomatic advances that can't stand the light of day, either here and abroad?

At the end of the day, Wikileaks poses the question: do you believe in democracy, or not?

Posted by: fzdybel | December 2, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I love how the right wingers don't let things like facts get in the way of their enthusiasm to make the US as free and open as Burma and China.

Wikileaks TRIED to work with our government to redact (that's blot out and protect, to you right wing nuts) to assure lives weren't endangered. And the US response was... nope, not interested. So go blame Washington for that, not Wikileaks.

It's the darndest thing, but all these claims about "national security" and "lives at stake", funny how the right wingers didn't say a thing when Cheney blew the cover of a high-level CIA agent who was working on finding those weapons of mass destruction Bush claimed we were looking for. Guess smearing her husband for exposing Bush's lies was more important than protecting America.

But you know what else? Those same arguments about national security, the very same words, have been used by the most brutal dictatorships of the 20th century. Must be a coincidence...

For everyone claiming the leaks have risked lives, where's the proof? C'mon, show us the SPECIFIC leaks. Not a vague claim. Which leaks?

Hm, I hear crickets...

Posted by: lmb02 | December 2, 2010 3:54 AM | Report abuse

For everyone claiming the leaks have risked lives, where's the proof? C'mon, show us the SPECIFIC leaks. Not a vague claim. Which leaks?

Hm, I hear crickets...

Posted by: lmb02 | December 2, 2010 3:54 AM | Report abuse

The only person who should be concerned about the leaks is Sarkozy who is now the laughing stock of the diplomatic world.

It looks like he has a few questions to answer to his "buddies"

I for one think the whole thing is great. We the public get full confirmation of how completely useless our politicians really are.

Posted by: Southeasterner | December 2, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

It is never, ever a good idea to agree with Bill Kristol about anything.

This wikileak situation is a great opportunity to finally leagalize torture....right Marc? Especially since you described the moral good that is torture.

Posted by: mmcd1 | December 2, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

During World War II, United States obtained considerable data from analyzing the messages from the Japanese Military Attache in Berlin to Japan, having broken the "Purple Code'.
Why were not these diplomatic messages in code?..

Posted by: KansasDoctor | December 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

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