WikiLeaks reportedly published the diplomatic cables that it had received without redactions. This, as The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Figaro, El Pais, Der Spiegel, governments and other organizations noted, exposes sources of classified information and top secrets at all kinds of risk. I expressed in the past what I think of WikiLeaks – that it goes to far in raising transparency in governments.
This action by Julian Assange could potentially lead to either of two reactions in the economy of intelligence. One of them involves using code names in the cables in an effort to hide the sources’ identities. In order for this to happen, very few people with access to these cables are supposed to know what these code names stand for in order to discourage their spread. Thus, for example, two people knowing the real names of the sources is more likely to expose a possible repeated leak rather than twenty people with access to the truth about that code name.
The other reaction, which I think is more likely, is more inefficient conversation with the governments whose diplomatic cables have been exposed by WikiLeaks – mainly the U.S. Department of State and its embassies – and less diplomatic cables traded for more security for the sources. Information not deemed very important might even never reach the government to whom it may concern.
A legitimate question to ask is why Julian Assange is doing this? In my humble opinion, he is trying to twist arms due to greed – be it from a raise in the demand for his books or from governments paying him in order to protect their sources. His bargaining power is now stronger, and he therefore has more opportunities to raise. his income. That raise might come directly from the security buyer into his bank account or through mediator channels.
Whatever the scenario will be, I see Mr. Assange’s action as one that creates what I would call an intelligence tax – be it economic (money for him) or non-economic (a stricter selection of what information is worth being processed through cables).