The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Resolved: Wikileaks is a threat to US national security [Public Forum]

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/2/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,562 times Debate No: 17363
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




1. Round 1: First Constructive [Initial Arguments]
2. Round 2: First Cross-Fire
3. Round 3: Second Constructive [Rebuttal]
4. Round 4: Second Cross-Fire
5. Round 5: Final Focus/Summary

Threat = something that is a source of danger [1]

D2: National Security = The security of the United States, its citizens, and U.S. allies and partners; a strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity; respect for universal values at home and around the world; and an international order advanced by U.S. leadership that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges [2]

O1: The resolution solely calls for the affirmative to show that Wikileaks is a threat - meaning that the round should be based upon the paradigm of affirmative offense only.

C1: WL inhibits information sharing

C1a: Discourages informants from giving away key intelligence:
The US avidly utilizes informants as a means of information gathering – in order to better respond to potential dangers. Specifically, informants in the Middle East are a key resource in counter-terrorism and non-proliferation programs. For example, the New York Times links 5 CIA informants to the May 2
nd Navy SEAL raid which resulted in Osama bin Ladin's death. [3] These informants reportedly fed a US spy agency information regarding the location of the mastermind behind the worst terrorist attack on the US (911). This and countless other examples help to elucidate the importance of informants. Terrorists understand this importance, which is why they seek to punish informants. Normally, this wouldn't be as big of a problem – but the issue lies in Wikileaks. Tucker Reals of CBS reports that “hundreds of Afghan civilians who worked as informants for the U.S. military have been put at risk by WikiLeaks' publication of more than 90,000 classified intelligence reports which name and in many cases locate the individuals.” [4] WL endangers the lives of informants by giving terrorists a means of retribution – a way to find said individuals, and hunt them down. In fact, the Daily Telegraph reports, “A spokesman for the militant movement said it would scour the files for the names of Afghan intelligence sources who had given the Nato-led coalition information on the insurgents... The spokesman would not say what punishment the movement would exact, but Taliban fighters routinely behead, hang or shoot dead those considered to be spies or associated with foreign troops.” [5] In fact, a number of other terrorist organizations such as Hamas have expressed similar sentiments. [6] [7] However, the more important point lies in the resulting loss of trust. Steven Aftergood, director of transparency group FASPGS, explains that “[the] “mere fact of the disclosure erodes confidence in the ability of the military to keep secrets and that can have real effects on recruitment of sources and on maintenance of relationships with individuals (and organizations) and with other security services.” [8] These implications are already apparent. Robert Danin of the CFR notes that a number of regular contacts in the Middle East have refused to meet with US officials, but the more important point remains – informants will be more reluctant to share key intelligence out of fear for their own lives. At the point where WL is directly responsible for the loss of information that could be used to locate and capture more terrorists; WL is inhibiting US ability to meet global challenges and is thereby a threat to US national security.

C1b: Harms government transparency by hampering intel-sharing within state departments
A common misconception is that WL improves governmental transparency. However, Steven Aftergood explains, “instead of subverting secrecy regimes, Wikileaks appears to be strengthening them, as new restrictions on information sharing are added and security measures are tightened. (Technology can be used to bolster secrecy as well as subvert it.).” [9] He furthers, “In fact, Wikileaks may deliberately be attempting, in a quasi-Marxist way, to subvert secrecy by provoking governments to strengthen it.” According to Joshua Foust of PBS, “In the wake of Wikileaks’ reckless exposures of U.S. secrets, agencies are responding by clamping down on access — the precise opposite of enabling the connecting of dots.” Foust warns that such security measures will inhibit the intelligence community from being able to “quickly or rigorously to stop every single attempt to execute a terrorist attack.” [10] Foust's fears are validated by a number of examples. For instance, the State Department's decision to withdraw its Net Central Diplomacy database from SIPRNET – a government secret network. Bureaucratic analysts rely on SIPRNET as their main means of reporting key issues in places such as the Middle East. With SIPRNET closed off to them, Foust explains that this will “adversely affect the intelligence community's ability to collect and understand information.” A report compiled for Congress by the GAO asserts a healthy flow of information between state departments is necessary to create accurate “risk” assessments of potential terrorist threats. These risk assessments determine funding and prioritization given to specific counter-terrorism programs, and without a fully coordinated intelligence community – the US' ability to effectively implement these programs will be affected. [11] At the point where WL endangers US counter-terrorism, thereby increasing the chance of a terrorist attack – WL is a clear threat to US national security.

C2: WL facilitates terrorism by fueling anti-US sentiments in regions such as the Middle East

WL fuels anti-U.S sentiment by releasing classified U.S operations in regions like the Middle East. Namely, the Pakistani nuclear crisis and the U.S Apache engagement. Looking first to the nuclear crisis, on November 28, 2010, during the WL disclosure of nearly a quarter million documents, a cable from 2007 revealed a covert U.S operation to remove enriched uranium from the Pakistani nuclear reactor. According to Rania Abouzeid of the Time magazine, “ The U.S secretly plan[ed] to seize the Islamic A-bombs,” even after, “Pakistani officials were denying American requests to visit the unnamed facility.” Pakistanis were furious and Rania furthers, “Pakistani streets largely view[ed] the revelations as confirmation of their long-held beliefs [suspicion towards the US].” Similarly, after the WL release of video depicting a U.S Apache crew firing down on unarmed Iraqis, angry retaliation came in the form of new levels of anti-US sentiment. In fact, WL even edited the video in order to cast the American soldiers involved in a crueler light. The problem with this lies in terrorist recruitment. A study done by Larisa Breton and Adam Pearson of Small Wars Journal found that the Apache Massacre, or “Collateral Murder,” video was being “used by extremists to support their ideological opposition to the West, poses a complex problem-set to would-be interventionists.” [12] The study asserts that “the “Collateral Murder” video certainly became grist for the terrorist mill,” and found that it was likely to “be used by extremist platforms (such as to further harden radicalized attitudes and to recruit future terrorists online.” Indeed, Breton and Pearson add that terrorist organizations are “likely to use Collateral Murder as an ideological plank to support their violent extremist ideology.” At the point where WL fueled anti US sentiments are being used in order to extend extremist ideology, thereby expanding terrorist organizations through new recruits – WL is a clear threat to national security.



Hello there Brotherhood!
First off, allow me to apologize for not fulfilling my part in the last debate. I was on vacation, and, to be frank, I forgot. That's in the past though, and I hope to make this an awesome debate. I see I have a tough act to follow, seeing your last round, but I'll do my humble best.

I accept all of your terms, and I hope this doesn't turn into a debate that focuses on the phrasing of the resolution.

I also would like to suggest that pro must prove that Wikileaks causes more harm than good, with myself proving that wikileaks causes more good than bad, to ensure the equal basis of this debate. With that, let's begin!

Hello ladies and gentlemen, my name is Admiral, and I am negating the resolution of Wikileaks is a threat to national security.

My contentions are as follows:

C1: Wikileaks helps democracy

C2: Wikileaks helps root out government corruption

C3: The real threat to democracy would be to infringe on our first amendment rights, the right to free speech.

C4: Attempting to shut down wikileaks would have no threat

My opponent would have you think that we should fear wikileaks, ansd do everything in out power to try to stop it. But what most people don't realize is, if we consider Wikileaks a threat, than we should consider a truly free press a threat to the United States.

Apparently, it is a "terrifying problem" for elected government, a scourge on the democratic, civilized world. But the fact is, it shouldn't be.

Wikileaks stands to improve our democracy, not restrict it.

This is America. In America, we have a democratic republic, a government in which we cast our votes to elect our leaders, our advocates in the Capitol, who look out for the best interests of the country, and the people who elected them.

Transparency is required for this system to work. A governemnt whose activities are shielded from it's people is one in which the leaders are not accountable to it's people, one in which the people are not able to make their decision on who to vote for, due to the lack of transparency. If the people can't see what their leaders are doing, they can't tell if their leaders are fulfilling their obligation to the people who elected them.

If the people can't see the actions of their governemnt, they can't exercise their best judgement on who they want to lead the country, thus undermining our democratic system.

Wikileaks helps democracy, by increasing transparency, which makes elected officials accountable for their actions. Character is what you say and do when no one is doing, and wikileaks helps us see what our officials do when they think no one is doing.

What's more, wikileaks helps root out corruption in our government, and others. The only people who really have to fear from the information released by wikileaks are the corrupt politicians, for example, the politicians ordering carpet bombing of foreign soil, or the shootings of civilians, or countless other examples. Wikileaks holds politicians accountable for their actions.

"Instead of encouraging online service providers to blacklist sites and writing new espionage laws that would further criminalize the publication of government secrets, we should regard WikiLeaks as subject to the same first amendment rights that protect The New York Times. And as a society, we should embrace the site as an expression of the fundamental freedom that is at the core of our Bill of Rights, not react like Chinese corporations that are happy to censor information on behalf of their government to curry favor."

What's more, Wikileaks has reacted to attempts to shut it down by giving it's info to thousands of mirrors that keep the information available. Blocking Wikileaks, even if it were possible, could never be effective.

Perhaps one of the most important part about this debate is the information released, no top secret information was released from wikileaks. Nothing released was deemed important enough by the government to warrant that status.

What's more, the real problem here is not wikileaks, but how easily accessible this information. The government needs to up it's security over it's information, and as a result of wikileaks, it has been.

With that obvious evidence, ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to vote con.
Debate Round No. 1


1. If a single Pro contention is extended, wouldn't that prove WL as a threat – thereby affirming the resolution?

2. Can you explain how democracy is being improved and how corruption is being rooted out, when according to Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations – politicians and diplomats actually, under threat of WL, find it harder to express their candid opinions in public, leading to a "shroud of separation" between policy makers and their constituents?

3. Can you explain how WL increases transparency when according to Steven Aftergood, who heads the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, WL actually hampers it by giving the government reason to add restrictions to information sharing?

4. First we have to understand that WL is fundamentally different than the New York Times, but can you explain how the U.S. government would infringe upon the First Amendment by ridding itself of WL when one considers the "clear and present danger" clause – as was established in Schenck v. United States (1919), and the future "imminent lawless action" clause of Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) – both of which essentially allow the U.S. government to regulate speech when it concerns a potential danger (such as WL) to U.S. national security?

5. Can you explain the topicality of shutting down WL in this resolution?

6. Can you explain how WL hasn't released any dire information when according to CBS, WL has released a document called the Critical Foreign Dependencies Initiative – which details the locations, utilities, and other key information about US strategic sites across the world?

7. Can you explain how WL hasn't released any top secret information when according to TIME, a WL cable revealed Yemen's involvement in counter-terrorism, sparking a controversy with Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who did not wish Yemen's involvement in such acts to be made public – fearing retribution from terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda?

8. How do you intend to solve terrorism?

9. Do you have any specific examples of political corruption being ousted due to WL?

10. How does your case outweigh?


Admiral forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


... This is the second time that Admiral has forgotten to post an argument and I'd really like to do a full debate with someone on this topic... I guess I'll remake...


Admiral forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Brotherhood forfeited this round.


dude... sorry. Could judges base their decisions based on the round we completed please?
Debate Round No. 4


Brotherhood forfeited this round.


Admiral forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Admiral 7 years ago
dude, sorry I couldn't do the last one, but i'll make it up to you with this one
Posted by Double_R 7 years ago
I see this is your first debate so just a few tips: Not too many people like reading 5 round debates. You may want to consider shortening it. Also I don't know if you're aware, but it is inappropriate to use the comment section for your sources or any argumentative points for that matter because it interferes with the character limit. You should probably consider editing your argument to include them or the voters may hold that against you. You should still have space.
Posted by merciless 7 years ago
Your sub-points in C1 should be two separate contentions.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
I really want to take this, but I am SUPER busy so I dunno if I can commit. Ugh lemme think about it.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Obviously it's a threat to "national security". And I'm glad that it is. The US Government needs something to be afraid of.
Posted by Kinesis 7 years ago
I hope someone decent takes this.
Posted by YYW 7 years ago
I will be curious to see who takes this. While not my favorite PF resolution, a good debate of this topic yields interesting insight into the matter -I suppose that could be said for any good debate regardless of the subject though.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 7 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: lesson: when you miss a round first, you lose all of the points.