First, let me say that I am a self-contradicting person. I am a collector of knowledge. I seek information that is hard to find or I shouldn’t know. The reason is simple, with knowledge comes power… the power to make informed decisions instead of blindly following whatever you are told. Instead, I seek to get the truth as much as possible.
At the same time, I am a firm believer in prosecuting people who violate laws regarding classified information. When you accept a position with a government, military, or private company that has been granted access to classified information, you are accepting a responsibility. At that point, it is your responsibility not to share information classified. You go into one of those jobs with the full understanding of this fact.
The idea that no one should “own” information and that knowledge should be free and shared no matter what… is simply childish. To think the world could ever operate in a manner where everyone is fully open and transparent with information, is the same as wishing everyone just did their part, everything was free, and money didn’t exist. It’s a great dream, but not realistic for one simple reason… no two people on earth think exactly alike and want exactly the same things.
Every government on this planet relies on classified information for defense, offense, and financial stability. The idea that one government should give that up for the sake of being open and honest is again, not realistic. Even third-world countries that don’t have computer networks rely on classified information. When you trust someone with this information and they give it away, you lose all your power. You lose your independence, you lose your ability to secure yourself, and you open yourself up for more attacks.
People look at groups like WikiLeaks as omnipotent organizations that just want equality and free flow of knowledge… but at the same time, you don’t see them being open and honest about their organization, their sources, and their offensive and defensive capabilities. You may say “that’s to protect themselves from nation-states that want to harm them” … but that is the exact same thing for the countries they are stealing information from. THE EXACT SAME THING.
This week another NSA contractor by the name of Reality Winner (yes, that is actually her real name) was arrested for sharing top-secret classified information with The Intercept about Russia’s attempts to hack election related systems. WikiLeaks is already heralding her as someone that is trying to help keep information free. They are saying she should be kept safe and not prosecuted because she was just sharing information. She wasn’t a whistle blower. She wasn’t saving lives. She wasn’t even contributing anything that wasn’t really already known… just shared top secret information because she could. I say throw the book at her… hard.
If you accept that role, you accept the consequences of violating those laws. You don’t get the break the law, be a martyr, but not face any consequences.