Archive Director Tom Blanton decries “Wikimania”

Ich hoffe, das wurde hier nicht schon gepostet. Wenn doch, bitte ich um Entfernung – danke! Richard H.-Winter

National Security Archive Update, December 16, 2010

Archive Director Tom Blanton decries “Wikimania”

Congressional testimony calls for overhaul of secrecy system and restraint on prosecutions

For more information contact:
Tom Blanton – 202/994-7000 or

Washington, DC, December 16, 2010 – Efforts to tighten the secrecy system and crackdown on leakers and the media will be “fundamentally self-defeating,” according to Thomas Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive, who testified today before the House Committee on the Judiciary. During the first Congressional hearing in the aftermath of “Cablegate” and the Wikileaks release of State Department documents, Blanton urged that lawmakers take a reasoned view of the issues raised by the leaks and not to “overreact.”

“There is more heat than light,” Blanton stated, citing calls for broadening the Espionage Act and assassinating Wikileaks leader, Julian Assange. Hasty punitive reactions, he predicted, “will actually produce more leaks, more crackdowns, less accountable government, and diminished security.”

“History shows we end up doing more damage from the overreaction than from the original leak,” according to Blanton.

Blanton reminded lawmakers that the Nixon administration had once considered firebombing the Brookings Institution building to destroy a copy of the Pentagon Papers, and that President Gerald Ford had vetoed the Freedom of Information Act in reaction to government leaks–only to be overruled by the U.S. Congress.

“The real danger of ‘Wikimania’ is that that we could revert to Cold War notions of secrecy, to the kind of stovepipes and compartments that left us blind before 9/11,” Blanton said. He called on lawmakers to protect the First Amendment, rather than adopt a “Chinese model of state control” of information.

“Those voices who argue for a crackdown on leakers and publishers need to face the reality that their approach is fundamentally self-defeating because it will increase government secrecy, reduce our security, and actually encourage more leaks from the continued legitmacy crisis of the classification system,” Blanton concluded.

Blanton’s testimony was posted today on the Archive Web site. The hearing was broadcast on C-SPAN.

Other witnesses included legal advocate Ralph Nader, law professors Stephen Vladeck and Geoffrey Stone, attorneys Abbe Lowell and Kenneth Wainstein, and Gabriel Schoenfeld of the Hudson Institute.

Visit the Archive’s Web site for more information about today’s posting.


THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

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