The Instigator
InvincibleMoos
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Freeman
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points

Resolved: WikiLeaks is a threat to United States National Security

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/3/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 22,984 times Debate No: 14628
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (24)
Votes (8)

 

InvincibleMoos

Pro

I stand in favor of the resolution: "Resolved: WikiLeaks is a threat to United States national security." WikiLeaks refers to the website wikiLeaks dot org that describes itself in the following way: "WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit media organization. Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists." A threat, as defined by the Collins English Dictionary, is a person or thing that is regarded as dangerous or likely to inflict pain or misery. The term "National Security" is a collective term encompassing both national defense and foreign relations of the United States, according to the free dictionary dot com.

As evidence of my affirmation, I present three ways in which WikiLeaks hinders the U.S. government in its attempt to protect national security. First, WikiLeaks causes Internal Information Sharing to decrease, putting the country's safety at greater risk. Second, WikiLeaks inhibits the inflow of information from sources on foreign soil. And third, WikiLeaks hinders diplomacy and our interactions with foreign governments.

Contention 1:
Wikileaks' recent rise to prominence via its November leak of more than 250,000 government "cables" has caused the government to tighten its informational security. After the leak, the Whitehouse released an official memo [1] that told government agencies and departments to review their workers' accessibility to classified documents to ensure that workers can access only what they need for their job. This reduces the ability of workers to "connect the dots" between people and events, because they don't have access to all the information available. The chance that we can identify and stop terrorism against our nation is thereby diminished, and our national security is put at risk.

Contention 2:
WikiLeaks inhibits the United States from receiving information from foreign sources in two ways. First, in the past it has compromised the identities of informants in Afghanistan, putting them at risk to Taliban assassination. Even if they are not killed, they are not of use to the United States so long it is known they are a spy. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the July 2010 leak could endanger the Afghan informants who were identified and cause "significant harm or damage to national security interests of the United States" [2]. The second way it inhibits us is by damaging the chances of future source recruitment. The chance that Afghans and other possible sources will agree to pass on information to the United States greatly diminishes because of WikiLeaks' history and the publicity that it has received. They will not be as willing to help us because they don't believe that we can keep their identity a secret.

Contention 3:
The emergence of WikiLeaks brings a multi-faceted problem to diplomats in the United States and other countries. First of all, the leaks, which were embarrassing to all parties involved, will cause other countries to question whether the United States can keep a secret. Other governments will be wary of giving us information that they don't want to be leaked. Within our government, state department employees will not give the candid and honest opinions that important diplomatic situations demand, in fear that the information will become public. British Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald explains the difficulties of the situation from the point of view of a working diplomat. "It's going to be much more difficult for people to talk candidly to us if the stuff is going to appear in the newspapers word for word…Diplomacy can't survive without confidentiality and without trust," he said [3].

Conclusion:
WikiLeaks harms national security not only through what it leaked, but through people's notions of what was leaked. It exposed afghan sources, and made public embarrassing statements that have caused diplomatic tensions, but it is also negatively affecting future national security. People don't trust us. Other governments won't want to tell us what they know, and possible sources will be disinclined to help us because of the reputation WikiLeaks has given us. The reason we keep things secret is because information made public negatively affects the safety and interests of the United States. WikiLeaks has harmed and will continue to harm our National Security.

Sources:
[1] http://www.whitehouse.gov...
[2]http://www.reuters.com...
[3]http://www.neontommy.com...
Freeman

Con

I am very grateful to be discussing such an important issue with such a thoughtful challenger. Upon hearing about WikiLeaks, I, like other Americans, was fascinated by the way they are distributing classified information. Though I am aware that others do not share my enthusiasm on the work being done by WikiLeaks, I am nonetheless persuaded that it has made a positive contribution to the United States and also to journalism. Moreover, I am also convinced that WikiLeaks has tangible benefits to our national security. My goal, then, is twofold. I will demonstrate that WikiLeaks doesn't harm the U.S.'s national security. And I will also show why WikiLeaks has benefits for the U.S.'s national security.

C1: WikiLeaks causes Internal Information Sharing to decrease, putting the country's safety at greater risk.

My opponent has not presented any evidence that WikiLeaks is causing the Justice Department (or any other official governmental agency) to be negatively hampered in their ability to gather or share information vital to national security. To the best of my knowledge, no one in any official governmental agency related to national security has ever made this claim. It is one thing to be able to make an assertion; it is something quite different to be able to back up that assertion with good evidence and solid logic.

If anything, my opponent's own evidence supports my position, not his. The fact that the Whitehouse is encouraging governmental agencies to review their workers' access to classified documents ensures that this information doesn't get stolen (or misused) by people who shouldn't be able to access it. Honestly, does my opponent not want government agencies to review their workers' security clearance before they access secret or classified information? Certain types of classified information can have an enormously harmful impact on national security if it were to fall into the wrong hands. Accordingly, the Whitehouse's security policies on this matter make a positive impact on the United States' national security.

C2: WikiLeaks inhibits the inflow of information from sources on foreign soil.

In order to demonstrate that WikiLeaks is harmful to U.S. interests, my opponent cites the opinions of Robert Gates. This is simply a false appeal to authority. Getting information about WikiLeaks from Defense Secretary Robert Gates is like getting information about nicotine gum from Philip Morris. The Defense Secretary, like the U.S. government, has a vested interest in keeping government information away from the public. The fact of the matter is that there is not a single shred of evidence that classified information from WikiLeaks lead to any government agent being harmed or killed.[1] Moreover, WikiLeaks, along with its news distributors, goes through a very careful process in order to redact information that would reveal covert government agents and sources.[2] Of course, the process isn't perfect, but it is still very thorough. In any case, my opponent has presented no evidence that our ability to gather information through foreign sources has been seriously damaged by the actions of WikiLeaks.

C3: WikiLeaks hinders diplomacy and our interactions with foreign governments.

It would seem as though my challenger believes that honesty and candor are likely to thrive in an environment of secrecy. He is certainly not alone in holding this view. Despite my opponent's reservations, WikiLeaks has exposed some rather unethical and highly questionable practices that have gone on in matters of U.S. diplomacy.[3] Far from harming our diplomatic relations, the WikiLeaks revelations will likely encourage diplomats to be more honest and candid. Diplomats will know that if they behave unethically, it will likely be found out. Moreover, WikiLeaks doesn't publish everything under the sun that gets said by foreign diplomats. There are, after all, legitimate secrets. Their main goal has been to expose unscrupulous behavior. And to this end, they have been quite successful.

CA1: WikiLeaks helps reduce the likelihood of detrimental foreign policy decisions.

Throughout history, and even into the present day, the national security of various countries has been put at risk by bad foreign policy decisions. In particular, the War in Iraq was predicated upon the claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.[4] We now know that this claim was not true.[5] What's more, we know that a lot of the information that was used to drum up the case for war was highly questionable. Had their been whistleblowers in the Whitehouse and an organization like WikiLeaks in 2002, the war in Iraq may never have occurred. Likewise, WikiLeaks' exposure of war crimes in Afghanistan makes it probable that the American people will be more weary about engaging in protracted wars with foreign nations.[6] All of these effects have a positive impact on the U.S.'s national security, because they reduce the likelihood that governmental decisions will be made on bad evidence or faulty reasoning.

Consider, for a moment, how a similar set of events in recent history made a positive effect on the openness of the U.S. government. In 1969, Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, which detailed the web of lies strung by numerous administrations to perpetuate the Vietnam War.[7] Marines like W. D. Ehrhart have recognized how the release of the Pentagon Papers have offered a priceless opportunity to see how governmental officials act when they think no one is watching.[7] Events like the release of the Pentagon Papers are both vital and necessary, since they detail how governments can act in ways that defraud the public.

CA2: WikiLeaks helps keep governments open.

As I have previously mentioned, the scrutiny that WikiLeaks has placed on governments around the world makes it more likely that they will be transparent. Among other things, this transparency helps guarantee our national security isn't severely undermined by reckless decision making on the part of corrupt governmental agencies. This is important to the United States' national security because corrupt government officials can be in a position to engage in harmful policies that can put our national security at risk. By forcing governments to cope with leaks of information, WikiLeaks leads governments to be transparent.

CA3: WikiLeaks helps to root out government corruption.

As an organization, WikiLeaks helps root out governmental corruption that can have a damaging affect on various countries and also U.S. interests. For example, WikiLeaks release of the Kroll report, which detailed governmental corruption, helped to turn the tide of an election in Kenya.[8-9] Because governmental corruption can often have a destabilizing effect on countries, WikiLeaks efforts to publish information which helps reduce governmental corruption has a positive effect on the U.S.'s national security. Not only this, it also has clearly helped the security and stability of other countries around the world.

| Conclusion |

The only thing WikiLeaks is really a threat to is corrupt government officials and policies that rely on secrecy. Pro has presented no credible evidence that information from WikiLeaks has ever harmed a single individual. If anything, the weight of the evidence he has gathered demonstrates that WikiLeaks has tangible benefits for the United States' national security. So, if my opponent wants to convince us that WikiLeaks is still a threat to the U.S.'s national security, he will have to salvage what's left of his three arguments. And he will also have to tear down all three of my own arguments. Until that day comes, I am happy to affirm my support for Julian Assange and the fine work being done by WikiLeaks.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 1
InvincibleMoos

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for accepting and responding to this debate. In this rebuttal round I will first discuss my opponent's points, and then reassert my own to show that WikiLeaks is, in fact, a threat to United States National Security.

CA1: Reduced likelihood of detrimental foreign policy decisions
In his argument, my opponent made several generalizations about the Iraq war and how WikiLeaks would have prevented it. First of all, the cause of the Iraq war was much more complex than my opponent portrayed it. For example, Iraq's unsatisfactory cooperation in an agreement it made with the United Nations concerning weapons inspections played a large role in our decision to attack [1]. Furthermore, my opponent has made the outrageous claim that WikiLeaks could have prevented the U.S. from entering the Iraq war. Exactly what information could have been leaked to prevent the war? Hindsight is 20-20; we now know that no Weapons of Mass Destruction were present in Iraq, but it was by no means obvious then.

In introducing Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers my opponent has made an unfair comparison. As his example illustrates, leaking can be beneficial, but only when it is controlled. Ellsberg saw corruption in the government and brought it to the people. On the other hand, the WikiLeaks dumps are an entirely different matter (and that is exactly what they are: dumps). In the past they have leaked the identities of Afghan informants [2][3] and even the Social Security numbers of soldiers, information that can only increase their risk of identity theft now that it is public [3]. This is evidence that they don't leak because of corruption, but instead because they believe in a secret-free government and transparency.

CA2: Transparency
Transparency is no doubt a very important aspect of any democracy, but the completely open and transparent government WikiLeaks envisions is unsustainable. Secrets are important too. For example, we wouldn't tell our enemies who is giving us information from the inside their organization. That would be unthinkable, yet names of Afghan sources were included in the July 2010 leak [2][3]. There needs to be a balance between transparency and secrecy. My opponent provided no evidence of why that balance is not currently at equilibrium. Transparency is important, but what reason do we have to doubt the status quo. WikiLeaks' actions have tipped this balance, negatively affecting U.S. interests.

CA3: WikiLeaks roots out government corruption
To refute this point, I will revert back to the same logic I have used to rebut my opponent's previous contentions. Although leaking government corruption to the people is a good thing, WikiLeaks does not leak just the information concerning corruption, but also information that can only harm people. Even if a specific example exists, such as the Kenya leak, where WikiLeaks was beneficial, the ways WikiLeaks threatens the United States greatly outweighs any benefit it may provide.

C1: Information Sharing Decreases
With regard to my first contention, my opponent and I agree that a decrease in information sharing is occurring as a result of the WikiLeaks ordeal but disagree on how it will affect national security. Contrary to my opponent's belief, government officials have discussed the importance of Information Sharing in the past. For example, the 9/11 Commission Report [4, p408] cited a lack of "Information Sharing" as a major reason our counter-intelligence workers were not able to prevent the attacks.

Furthermore, it is nonsensical to say this argument is consistent with those of my opponent. My opponent argues for the leak; he is supporting the mission of WikiLeaks to expose these secret documents, but he states "Certain types of classified information can have an enormously harmful impact on national security if it were to fall into the wrong hands." Since WikiLeaks strives to publicize information, it inevitably causes classified information to fall into the wrong hands. Naturally, a supporter of WikiLeaks would disagree with the Government's attempts to counteract WikiLeaks. My point in the matter is that had the leaks not occurred; had WikiLeaks never been created, there would be no need to take these measures to tighten our security, and as the 9/11 example illustrates, our National Security would be in a better state.

C2: Inhibition of information coming from sources on foreign soil
First and Foremost, I would like to defend Robert Gates as a valuable source for the information in question. I cited him as saying that WikiLeaks did, in fact, endanger informants in Afghanistan and that this will harm our National Security. Secretary Gates is likely the most informed person on this issue, and it seems to me that if Gates believed the opposite (that National Security was unaffected), he would be quick to assure the nation of its safety. So, in this Philip Morris analogy, it is like Philip Morris admitting that nicotine gum is hurting his company, despite his natural tendencies and commercial benefits to say otherwise. My opponent claimed that no one has been hurt by any of the leaks to this point. In response, I would like to note that any information concerning an informant's death would be instantly classified, and government officials would not be allowed to disclose such information. Additionally, just because no one has been hurt so far does not mean no one will be hurt in the future. The Afghan sources were leaked just last July [2][3]. For my opponent's benefit I have provided two additional sources (other than the Robert Gates article) citing exposed Afghan sources. To restate my original argument, not only have we lost the compromised sources; we have lost the trust of possible future informants, the latter of which my opponent completely neglected in his initial response.

C3: WikiLeaks hinders diplomacy
In his response, my opponent did not address my point very thoroughly. His counterexample concerning corruption is not extremely applicable to the United States because, like the instance he cited, most of our corruption is minor, and in comparison to countries around the world our overall level is very low. He did not address either of the two ways I discussed that WikiLeaks hurts us. The first point was that other governments don't trust that we can keep the information they give us a secret. The second was that in interacting with each other, officials from our government and from others will not be able to speak their mind on matters that, though possibly offensive, are of great importance. For example, WikiLeaks exposed documents that called French President Nicolas Sarkozy a "naked emperor" and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "Hitler." Also, one document detailed our uncertainty of the dependability of Turkey as an ally [5]. Government officials say world powers are already "pulling back" from dealings with the U.S., as a result of the leak [6]. This information is directly damaging to our diplomacy with these countries, and illustrates how in the future our workers will be more cautious with their words even if it involves matters such as the trust we put in foreign countries.

Conclusion:
In this day and age, information is power, and in my three contentions I have attempted to demonstrate how WikiLeaks harms our informational interactions with governments, with informants, and with ourselves. I hope to have convinced you that WikiLeaks is more of a threat than it is a benefit to United States national security.

[1] www.newsbatch.com/iraq.htm
[2] www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=183297
[3] tech.mit.edu/V130/N58/wikileaks_p.html
[4] www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf
[5] www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8144739/Wikileaks-what-the-leaked-State-Department-cables-say.html
[6] www.deseretnews.com/article/700089234/Pentagon-WikiLeaks-has-hurt-US-foreign-relations.html
Freeman

Con

As I begin my response for the second round of this debate, it is clear to me that some very noteworthy concessions have already been made. Indeed, my opponent has apparently conceded all three of my arguments. His only reservation is based on his view that WikiLeaks goes 'too far' in its actions. So, I will proceed by responding to his objections, and then I will continue to demonstrate how WikiLeaks is beneficial to the United States.

C1: WikiLeaks causes Internal Information Sharing to decrease, putting the country's safety at greater risk.

I don't agree at all with my opponent that WikiLeaks is causing any government agencies to be negatively affected in their ability to share information vital to national security. The lack of "information sharing" my opponent is referring to is not a problem caused by WikiLeaks. According to the 911 commission report that assessed our intelligence failures related to the 911 attacks, "no one was firmly in charge of managing the case and able to draw relevant intelligence from anywhere in the government, assign responsibilities across the agencies (foreign or domestic), track progress, and quickly bring obstacles up to the level where they could be resolved. Responsibility and accountability were diffuse."[1] These are structural problems within the government that existed well before WikiLeaks ever became an organization. It's nonsensical to say that WikiLeaks is responsible for them.

In fact, WikiLeaks has positively helped national security by causing the government to be more vigilant and intelligent about who is able to access classified information. There is no evidence whatsoever that WikiLeaks is responsible for our government's own incompetence. In order for information sharing to be increased, the U.S. government needs to reassess how it handles and distributes information important to national security. The dissolution of WikiLeaks doesn't fit into this process in any way.

My opponent then claims that I am contradicting myself, because he believes that WikiLeaks is letting important information fall into the wrong hands. I've already explained why this isn't so. WikiLeaks redacts the vast majority of the information they receive that could be harmful.

C2: WikiLeaks inhibits the inflow of information from sources on foreign soil.

Once again, the Secretary of Defense is not a credible source on WikiLeaks. He is completely biased against the organization. Like the rest of the government, he has a vested interest in keeping classified documents secret. He is no more reliable than Henry Kissinger or the other senior people within the Nixon administration that tried to discredit Daniel Ellsberg after he published the Pentagon Papers.[2] This motion picture has played before.

Moreover, the argument being raised about our Afghanistan sources is based on an appeal to ignorance. No one has been hurt by the actions of WikiLeaks, and there is no evidence that anyone is likely going to be hurt. Every informant employed by the U.S. military understands that there are risks associated with their job; occasional leaks occur. Likewise, there is no evidence that our intelligence capabilities have been compromised by an alleged lack of willing sources in Afghanistan.

C3: WikiLeaks hinders diplomacy and our interactions with foreign governments.

In his previous response, my opponent says that I haven't adequately addressed his two assertions about how WikiLeaks harms our diplomacy. He says that WikiLeaks causes governments not to trust us, and it prevents diplomats from speaking candidly. Both of these points were discredited (or made irrelevant) by the larger issues I was raising. Honesty, trust and candor don't materialize in an environment of secrecy that lacks accountability. To the contrary, we have seen how this system has given cover to corrupt officials such as Silvio Berlusconi, who was named in the WikiLeaks cables.[3] In fact, my opponent's own source on this issue relating to U.S. diplomacy is coming straight from the Pentagon.[4] This is government propaganda. I don't buy it. Whatever short term effects WikiLeaks may have on our foreign diplomacy, they have the overall positive long term effect of making our foreign diplomacy more open and accountable.

CA1: WikiLeaks helps reduce the likelihood of detrimental foreign policy decisions.

Despite what my challenger has alleged, I've never said that WikiLeaks would have prevented the Iraq War had it been around in 2002. I said that it may have. Back in 2003, people like Joe Wilson were publishing information explaining why it was highly dubious that Saddam Hussein had weapons of Mass destruction.[5] Wilson argued that there were good grounds to conclude that the Bush administration was exaggerating the threat posed by Iraq. As a result of this, his wife's cover as a CIA operative ended up being blown by (probably) senior people within the Bush administration.[6] At any rate, the main case for the invasion of Iraq was not a 'slam dunk,' as the former director of the CIA George Tenet seemed to imply.[7] More high level disclosures of this sort could have turned public opinion against the war.

It would seem as though my opponent agrees with me that WikiLeaks can help prevent harmful foreign policy decisions by acknowledging the importance of the Pentagon Papers. Among other things, the Pentagon Papers helped bring an end to the Vietnam War, which had become unsustainable. His only reservation, once again, relies on the unfounded notion that WikiLeaks has caused harm to our Afghan sources. As I've pointed out numerous times, there is not a single piece of evidence to substantiate my opponent's fears.

CA2: WikiLeaks helps keep governments open.

Pro also agrees with me that the transparency WikiLeaks helps create is an important part of our democracy. Nonetheless, he has continued to repeat the ubiquitous canard that WikiLeaks has harmed (or will potentially harm) our Afghan sources, as if repeating a bad argument several times somehow makes it become more compelling. He says that I haven't shown that the balance between transparency and secrecy is currently at an equilibrium as a result of WikiLeaks actions. But this isn't my job. My opponent is the one who says WikiLeaks has negatively upset this balance; however, his only assertion to back up this claim is based on his discredited argument about WikiLeaks causing harm to our sources in Afghanistan.

CA3: WikiLeaks helps to root out government corruption.

My opponent has also conceded the argument I have made here. WikiLeaks is helping our national security by exposing government corruption, since corruption can have a destabilizing effect on governments. In response, Pro has simply restated his old argument about our Afghan sources. I've already addressed this point numerous times.

| Conclusion |

The opponents of WikiLeaks, lacking any rational arguments based on evidence, are on shaky ground by stating that the organization harms U.S. interests. I think we've seen at least three good reasons why WikiLeaks has benefits to our national security. WikiLeaks helps prevent bad foreign policy decisions; it helps keep governments open, and it also helps root out corruption. These benefits are tremendously consequential because, among other things, they are likely to help stop the U.S. from engaging in unnecessary wars that kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians and weaken our standing in the world. Moreover, I think it should also be clear that my opponent's three arguments are without merit. They amount to little more than false claims about information sharing, unsupported assertions about U.S. informants being harmed by the Taliban and a misguided (and biased) perspective of U.S. diplomacy. For these reasons, it is still the case that WikiLeaks is beneficial to the United States' national security.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 2
InvincibleMoos

Pro

At this point in the debate, all major arguments have been introduced. Accordingly, in my third and final segment I plan to first address the most controversial points this debate has presented, and then quickly discuss why I have won each contention. I will not introduce any new major arguments or evidence, and hope my opponent will do the same, as I will not have a chance to respond.

Before I begin, I would like to take one last look at the resolution which can be reworded to read "WikiLeaks is likely to inflict pain on the interests of the United States" by inserting the definitions I presented in the opening round. Logical reasoning yields this statement synonymous with "The United States would be better off if WikiLeaks did not exist." Keep this interpretation in mind as I continue my argument.

The first all-encompassing argument is that concerning the Afghan Sources. First, I would like to reestablish that these sources were, in fact, leaked; I have provided three sources that attest to this fact. I will elaborate specifically on how this directly harms our national security later, but the existence of these leaked sources is undeniable.
The second argument that has drawn the most attention is the alleged redaction process. I do not doubt that WikiLeaks claims that this happens, but (in lack of a less clich´┐Ż expression) actions speak louder than words, especially when it comes to people's perception of WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks obviously was not using this process (or it was extremely ineffective) when they released the identities of foreign sources and the social security numbers of U.S. soldiers in July. Whether they have started to implement or are planning to implement such a process frankly does not matter. People know WikiLeaks for what it has done, not what it plans to do. The governments that have begun to pull back from relations with the U.S. will not suddenly decide to reengage because WikiLeaks claims it will redact information that it decides is harmful. No matter what WikiLeaks says, potential informants (assuming they even know that such a process is being conducted) will not suddenly accept this and reenlist with the United States. Even after WikiLeaks begins to follow up on their claim (assuming they do at all), the untrustworthiness WikiLeaks has given us will remain. But, consider this, if WikiLeaks ceased to exist, or better yet if it had never existed at all, none of this would be a problem.

CA1: Reduced likelihood of detrimental foreign policy decisions.
Neither of the examples my opponent uses to support this point are legitimate. As I stated in the second round, my opponent has oversimplified the Iraq war situation. Our belief of a presence of weapons was one of multiple reasons we decided to attack, another of which I elaborated on in the second round. The evidence he presents is nowhere near solid; its basis lies in conspiracy theories and opinions made after we already knew the outcome. His second example is the release of the Pentagon Papers. WikiLeaks is nothing like Daniel Ellsberg. Daniel Ellsberg wanted an end to the corruption he was witnessing. WikiLeaks wants transparency and secret-free governments. If WikiLeaks was like Daniel Ellsberg, it would only publish reports about corruption, and I have shown this is not so.

CA2: Transparency
It would benefit our government if we were a dictatorship and if our government lacked transparency altogether. The fact is, our government has transparency, and it is a major part of our democracy. But as my opponent has admitted: "There are, after all, legitimate secrets." We do not need more transparency. My 2nd and 3rd contentions show how increased transparency hurts us. For my opponent to win this point, he must show how increased transparency would outweigh these harmful effects. So far he has not.

CA3: WikiLeaks helps root out government corruption
I am not going to pretend this is a bad point, because it is not, and something to be considered in the overall decision. While making the final decision however, I hope that this point only plays a very minor role. My opponent has said that WikiLeaks rooted out corruption in Kenya, and in a very minor espionage case in the United States. National Security was not drastically affected by either of these events. Corruption is not something that is a problem in the United States, and I think it is safe to say that a much greater portion of our interests lie within our own borders than in Kenya.

C1: WikiLeaks causes Internal Information Sharing to decrease, putting the country's safety at greater risk.
I will summarize why I have effectively won this point by first restating how WikiLeaks is causing this to happen, and then how it harms our National Security. First of all, the Whitehouse memo from my opening statement discussed a memorandum given to government agencies on November 28th (directly after the most recent leak) titled: "WikiLeaks - Mishandling of Classified Information." It explained how agencies were instructed to review their classified information accessibility policies and reduce the amount of information that workers can see to a minimum. Ergo, as a direct result of WikiLeaks less information will be shared between workers. The harm this will have on our country is best summed up by the following passage from the 9/11 Commission: "The importance of integrated, all-source analysis cannot be overstated. Without it, it is not possible to ‘connect the dots.' No one component holds all the relevant information." This was included in the report because it was deemed one of the reasons we were not able to stop the attacks. WikiLeaks has forced us to take these measures in order to protect ourselves from more leaks. Had WikiLeaks never existed, they would not be necessary.

C2: WikiLeaks inhibits the inflow of information from sources on foreign soil.
My opponent argues that this is an invalid point because there is no evidence supporting it. All three of my sources have discussed the risk to the lives of these sources. I have supplied more than enough evidence stating sources were compromised and are in danger (even if they are not dead they are no longer functional as assets). Besides this, no evidence exists, and no evidence can exist, because the information would be classified. This does not mean that this point should be put aside when judging the pros and cons of WikiLeaks; it is still a very important point that makes sense logically. My opponent also stated that risks already exist. In making their decision, a rational person with their life at stake will consider the benefits and risks. Yes, before WikiLeaks there were risks, but the presence of WikiLeaks causes the risk involved in the situation to increase and informants to be less likely to enlist.

C3: WikiLeaks hinders diplomacy and our interactions with foreign governments.
Again, my opponent simply avoids my points, attempting to redirect attention back to his third contention which I have already addressed. The only words he has for my contention are that I lack evidence that isn't "government propaganda." I have illustrated why candor and honesty are important, and how WikiLeaks harms that. I have quoted a working politician in Sir Nigel Sheinwald who attests to my point. I have also provided three examples of damaging information that arose from the leaks. He has not addressed this nor what is quite likely the most important question from this debate: How can foreign governments trust us after what happened?

My opponent's main attack throughout this debate has been aimed at my evidence; either that I have none or that he doesn't "buy it." In response I have attempted to show the validity of my arguments, and I believe I have adequately refuted all of his counterarguments and contentions. I hope to have convinced you that WikiLeaks is much more harmful than helpful, and that it is a threat to U.S. National Security.
Freeman

Con

Allow me to begin by thanking my opponent for giving me the opportunity to participate in what has been one of my favorite debates. There is, however, one issue that I think should be cleared up before I finish defending my arguments. My challenger, being both very intelligent and clever, has begun to be cognizant that his resolution isn't quite defensible. Accordingly, in order to compensate for the shortcomings of his arguments, he has decided to subtly reword the resolution. Nonetheless, the proposition that WikiLeaks harms the United States' national security is not synonymous with the proposition that "The United States would be better off if WikiLeaks did not exist." For example, the United States would be better off if the Ku Klux Klan didn't exist. It does not logically follow from this fact that the Ku Klux Klan is a threat to the United States' national security. In the modern era, they are a hate group, but they aren't a threat to the United States' national security. In any case, Pro hasn't even managed to uphold this much lower burden of proof that he has cunningly tried to instate.

C1: WikiLeaks causes Internal Information Sharing to decrease, putting the country's safety at greater risk.

Once again, my opponent has stated that WikiLeaks has harmed the United States' national security by encouraging the U.S. to improve its security measures. As I have indicated previously, this is simply not the case. The new security measures have benefited our national security by making it harder for people to access vital information that they shouldn't be able to access. Everyone who is rightfully authorized to look at the information vital to our national security still has their access to it, and they can share it with other authorized people.

Knowingly or not, my opponent is taking the 911 commission report out of context. He has also failed to address the context that I have provided on this point. The 911 commission report indicated that our lack of information sharing was the result of government agencies not properly coordinating with each other.[1] Incompetence is a problem, not increased security. Therefore, WikiLeaks is exonerated from my opponent's charges.

C2: WikiLeaks inhibits the inflow of information from sources on foreign soil.

For a final time, my challenger has argued that WikiLeaks has vitiated our ability to gather information from foreign sources and has harmed our informants in Afghanistan. Firstly, the sources he is appealing to, such as the Secretary of Defense, are not credible on this topic. Like the rest of the government, Robert Gates has a vested interest in keeping classified documents away from the public. Secondly, and more importantly, there is absolutely no evidence to support his claim that WikiLeaks has harmed our sources in Afghanistan.

Moreover, my opponent still has not presented evidence that the United States' ability to garner informants in Afghanistan has been compromised. Likewise, a "rational person" looking to work for the U.S. military will know that leaks are very rare. They also would know that WikiLeaks isn't al-Qaeda. Their goal isn't to harm anyone, and they work very hard to protect people's identity, even if they aren't always perfect.

C3: WikiLeaks hinders diplomacy and our interactions with foreign governments.

If you will remember, my challenger has asserted that WikiLeaks impedes the ability of our diplomats to speak candidly, and it prevents governments from being able to trust us. So far as I can tell, I've negated both of the points that he made. Candor, honesty and trust don't materialize in an environment of secrecy that lacks accountability. To back up this point, I provided evidence in my opening round which showed how the U.S. was spying on Foreign Office ministers.[2] I also stated how Silvio Berlusconi was using secrecy to hide his corruption.[3] Honesty and candor require accountability, which is what WikiLeaks provides.

Furthermore, my opponent's sources that he used to demonstrate why WikiLeaks has harmed our diplomacy simply aren't credible. The Pentagon and politicians like Sir Nigel Sheinwald are inclined to seek as much power and secrecy as they can get. Indeed, my challenger's fears are blown completely out of proportion. We've become strong allies with countries that we used to be at war with (e.g., Japan and Germany). Our diplomacy and world relations are strong enough to handle a few scandalous leaks. As I've stated previously, whatever short term effects WikiLeaks may have on our diplomatic relations, it still has the positive long term effect of making our diplomatic relations more open and accountable.

CA1: WikiLeaks helps reduce the likelihood of detrimental foreign policy decisions.

I never said that the only reason the United States invaded Iraq was based on the claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Rather, this was an important factor in the decision, and that was the only point I was making. Moreover, the evidence I presented is not based on "conspiracy theories." It is a fact that Joseph Wilson traveled to Africa in order to investigate claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. When he came back, he published information questioning the integrity of the case for war before we found out that there were no WMDs.[4] It is also a fact that Karl Rove said that Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.[5] At any rate, my central point remains. It is possible that with more leaks coming from dissidents in the CIA and other places, the justification for the war could have been significantly undermined.

My challenger then claims that WikiLeaks is nothing like Daniel Ellsberg. It should be perfectly obvious that this analogy is compatible with the facts. WikiLeaks doesn't want "secret-free governments." They want accountable governments that aren't beleaguered by corruption.

CA2: WikiLeaks helps keep governments open.

In his previous round, my challenger asserted that: "We do not need more transparency." I find this notion to be amazing, given all of the corruption that has existed in our government. I will admit for a second time that there are legitimate secrets; however, WikiLeaks respects those secrets through their process of redacting information from their material. My challenger's only reservation here is based on his arguments that he made in (C2) and (C3), both of which have been negated. In fact, I've shown how more transparency has positive benefits.

CA3: WikiLeaks helps to root out government corruption.

While clarifying his own position, Pro states that: "Corruption is not something that is a problem in the United States." The U.S. may not be plagued by ceaseless and rampant corruption, but corruption is still a problem. Moreover, my opponent has missed the point of the example that I used with Kenya. WikiLeaks helps root out corruption everywhere, not just in Kenya. Because corruption can have a destabilizing effect on governments, this point isn't just applicable to Kenya, but also to the U.S. and other countries.

| Conclusion |

Throughout the course of this debate, my opponent has not made a single argument that hasn't been thoroughly discredited. WikiLeaks doesn't harm our intelligence capabilities. It has not brought harm or death to a single individual. And the effects that it has on our diplomacy are absolutely minor in the larger scheme of things. If anything, it makes our diplomacy more open and accountable. Not only this, I've also shown why WikiLeaks is beneficial to the United States' national security by rooting out corruption, promoting transparency and helping to reduce the likelihood that the U.S. makes harmful foreign policy decisions. Far from being a threat to our national security, WikiLeaks has done a tremendous service to the United States.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 3
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by democrat435 6 years ago
democrat435
good arguement freeman.
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
Thank you Greyparrot. :)
Posted by Greyparrot 6 years ago
Greyparrot
Really well written Freeman.
Posted by King_of_Contradiction 6 years ago
King_of_Contradiction
Also, he Pro could have said that the resolution clearly states that Wikileaks is a "threat." No proof of harm is really needed on all levels to justify a "threat." Lets say someone says they will punch you...You don't know if they/ve punched someone in the past, however, this is still a threat because he could harm you.
Posted by Hellhammer33 6 years ago
Hellhammer33
"The fact of the matter is that there is not a single shred of evidence that classified information from WikiLeaks lead to any government agent being harmed or killed."

Actually, Wikileaks' careless actions has already set off a chain of reactions. According to an article by Jonathan Peters, University of Missouri, in July 2010, when Wikileaks released the Afghanistan war documents, it did not remove the names of Afghan intelligence sources from the documents it released.
After the release a Taliban Spokesman told the New York Times that the Taliban had formed a nine-member commission to review the documents and "find out about people who are spying". If this committee succeeds in tracking down friendly intelligence informants, it is a given that they will be executed. If that happens, we will lose a vital source of information; not only because we will have lost current sources, but future informants will be reluctant to help us if we cannot protect them. Without this vital flow of intelligence we cannot continue to fight the war on terror and all of our efforts in the middle east will have been in vain.
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
@Haasenfeffor

You're welcome.

@ InvincibleMoos

Yeah, thanks a lot for your time. I really liked this debate, and I think that you did excellently.
Posted by InvincibleMoos 6 years ago
InvincibleMoos
Wow great debate. We might have different opinions but I think we can agree that this is a very interesting topic to discuss.
Posted by Haasenfeffor 6 years ago
Haasenfeffor
Uh, Freeman, just wanted to thank you. I used a lot of the stuff in your side to help me at Scarsdale :) Thanks for the help!!! Although, i still lost every con case i did, and won every pro, lol. But, your stuff did make me sound a little more eloquent. :) That stupid coin toss....
Posted by zGodMode 6 years ago
zGodMode
What a threat to national security is is that a Private in the army had access to all these files.
Posted by jrmurillo09 6 years ago
jrmurillo09
It all depends on how the Supreme Court sees it. Its freedom of the press. Exposing these things would give out vital information and expose National Security, but harm it? I do not think so. The leaks will only obligate the U.S. to continue updating defense procedures which I think will help defense.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Amveller 6 years ago
Amveller
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Vote Placed by 2013jkim 6 years ago
2013jkim
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Reasons for voting decision: i thought that this was a hard topic to debate from the pro's perspective; yes, wikileaks can be something that can be frowned up on but is it a treat to the US National Security? However, i thought that invinciblemoos did a good job of trying to defend his points and trying to expose the flaws in freeman's, but freeman was able to compose more of an effective debate
Vote Placed by Nihilist 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by debatesavy 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by daniel4college 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Steelerman6794 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Point by Point: C1: Pro. Pro appropriately gave concrete examples of the vitality of internal information sharing that is now rendered less efficient because of WikiLeaks. Con contradicted himself by claiming that WikiLeaks is beneficial because it provides both transparency and better secret-keeping by the government. C2: Pro. Con based his whole rebuttal to this contention on the invalidity of Robert Gates' testimony. If Con had better negated the merits of the contention itself, he ma
Vote Placed by Haasenfeffor 6 years ago
Haasenfeffor
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Reasons for voting decision: While both sides did present their cases well, Con did advocate for it's side in a stronger, more persuasive way. By the way, I used both of your arguements to back up my own arguements for scarsdale yesterday! Thanks!
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
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