Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Leaky Week

This leaky week started with WikiLeaks disclosing secret US diplomatic cables. Some meaty revelations, but nothing suggests that you or me cannot handle the truth. After three days of leaks the difference between a cable and an email remains a secret to me.

A-priori my sympathies were not with the leaker. I do like the idea of a Texas hold'em model though, where most of the cards are on the table, and we can call a spade a spade. My mixed feelings cocktail is one part jet-lag two parts cynic. My own Diogenes the cynic would say: If diplomacy is not shameful in private it should not be shameful in public.

The jet-lag is from the trip to Diego's wedding. A week stay is not worth acclimating and risking a second jet-lag upon return. Awake every night facing pharma with her sleeping pill collection against my father's large and growing book collection. Harder to swallow I still go for a book at the top of the stack.

Official Secrets is 1999 research with context for the then released transcripts of WWII German Order Police (ORPO) radio transmissions intercepted by British intelligence. The radio codes were rather rudimentary even by 1940's standards. These intercepted contents were kept secret during the war to avoid tipping the parties off as to their interception. The high price paid for that secrecy surely wins Wikileaks some points in retrospect.

The reasons for secrecy, then and now, are operational. That is the dilemma, plans and methods want to be kept secret while analysis and policy want to be public. Facts, reality, truth, where do they fall?

Wikileaks, with the jet-lag book still fresh in my mind, the most recurring of questions recurs: Where were you then during WWII?


Pablo said...

For the most part, politicians and diplomats are angry because they now have less material to expose in their memoires.

Ariel said...

Yep, I can see Captain Renault in Casablanca reading the leaks and going:
I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.