Julian Assange and WikiLeaks
Attacked on all Sides
It wasn't just governments who were condemning Assange and WikiLeaks. Politicians couldn't resist the scent of fresh blood.
In a post on Facebook, titled: "Serious Questions About the Obama Administration's Incompetence in the WikiLeaks Fiasco," Sarah Palin called Assange "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?"
To which WikiLeaks responded via Twitter with a witty jab: "Sarah Palin says Julian should be hunted down like Osama bin Laden—so he should be safe for at least a decade."
Congressman Pete King wants WikiLeaks dubbed a terrorist organization. And Mike Huckabee, the former Presidential challenger called literally for blood: He told reporter Maria Sanchez during a visit to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., "Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty."
Journalists were also crusading against Assange and WikiLeaks, particularly those in "old media," those most threatened financially by the newmedia. The Editor-in-chief of Time, Richard Stengel, ran a haranguing editorial touting their cover story about Assange: "It seems inarguable that the release of 251,287 documents via WikiLeaks harms American national security and that Assange meant to do so."
And Christopher Hitchens got in on the attacks. In a Slate piece titled, "Turn Yourself In, Julian Assange," Hitchens assailed the site's founder: "The man is plainly a micro-megalomaniac with few if any scruples and an undisguised agenda."
In a piece titled "The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange," David Samuels of The Atlantic wrotethat Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Steve Coll sniffed at WikiLeaks' content, branding it "'vandalism' and 'First Amendment-inspired subversion.'"
Samuels noted, "Coll's invective is hardly unique," pointing out similarly excoriating articles in The Washington Post. Wrote Samuels: "In a column titled 'WikiLeaks Must Be Stopped," Mark Thiessen wrote that 'WikiLeaks is not a news organization; it is a criminal enterprise.'"