Cyberwar Against Wikileaks? Good Luck With That

Cyberwar Against Wikileaks? Good Luck With That
Cyberwar Against Wikileaks? Good Luck With That

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By Kevin Poulsen
Threat Level
August 13, 2010

Should the U.S. government declare a cyberwar against WikiLeaks?

On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a gathering in London 
that the secret-spilling website is moving ahead with plans to publish 
the remaining 15,000 records from the Afghan war logs, despite a demand 
from the Pentagon that WikiLeaks =E2=80=9Creturn=E2=80=9D its entire cache of published 
and unpublished classified U.S. documents.

Last month, WikiLeaks released 77,000 documents out of 92,000, 
temporarily holding back 15,000 records at the urging of newspapers that 
had been provided an advance copy of the entire database. On Thursday, 
Assange said his organization has now gone through about half of the 
remaining records, redacting the names of Afghan informants. That 
suggests the final release could still be weeks away.

Pundits, though, are clamoring for preemptive action. =E2=80=9CThe United States 
has the cyber capabilities to prevent WikiLeaks from disseminating those 
materials,=E2=80=9D wrote Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen on Friday=2E 
=E2=80=9CWill President Obama order the military to deploy those capabilities? =E2=80=A6 
If Assange remains free and the documents he possesses are released, 
Obama will have no one to blame but himself.=E2=80=9D

But a previous U.S.-based effort to wipe WikiLeaks off the internet did 
not go well. In 2008, federal judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco 
ordered the domain name seized as part of a lawsuit filed 
by Julius Baer Bank and Trust, a Swiss bank that suffered a leak of some 
of its internal documents. Two weeks later the judge admitted he=E2=80=99d acted 
hastily, and he had the site restored. =E2=80=9CThere are serious questions of 
prior restraint, possible violations of the First Amendment,=E2=80=9D he said.


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