I am not a fan of double standards. I realize most people would claim this, but I think I really, really don’t like them. I have problems with people or political groups who claim to love America because of the freedoms persons and groups have here, but then seek to limit or remove such freedoms prior to or following an election. I have problems with people who claim to be pro-life and oppose abortion in an effort to protect the sacred lives of unborn babies, but then vote, support and implement cuts in head start, school lunches, children’s healthcare, and general education. I have problems with people who sing “Oh how I love Jesus” on Sunday then throughout the week deny the teachings of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount and break his commands to love others as they love themselves.
The double standard straw that broke my back this week was the action of WikiLeaks. I was listening to an interview with Kristinn Hrafnsson, chief spokesman of the organization regarding its actions in relations to Edward Snowden. Hrafnsson stated several times that the purpose of WikiLeaks was to hold nations, corporations, and other organizations accountable through transparency and complete openness through the leaking of secrets. This mission is also stated on WikiLeaks’ website:
Publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people. Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society’s institutions,including government, corporations and other organizations. A healthy, vibrant and inquisitive journalistic media plays a vital role in achieving these goals. We are part of that media.
The website goes on to say that “Scrutiny requires information.” When NPR sought to discover the information behind the relationship between Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks, specifically whether there was a relationship between Snowden and WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange, spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson refused to divulge that information saying it went against WikiLeaks policy to comment on such internal practices or its relationships with persons who supply information. The reasoning for such secrecy was to “protect sources” and keep the lines of communications open with anyone who has information on national or corporate abuse. WikiLeaks is using this time honored journalism tradition as a blanket rationale in much the same way nations and their intelligence organizations have historically relied on “national security” as the get out of sharing information free card.
While NPR reporter pushed Hrafnsson to discuss the state of the relationship between WikiLeaks and Snowden, he never brought up the double standard in WikiLeaks’ refusal to itself be transparent in its relationship with Snowden so people could judge the true motivation of Snowden’s divulging secrets. Was Snowden really put out with the abuses he encountered after he started working in the intelligence community or was he recruited or convinced to take the position for the express purpose of gathering and releasing the information?
Is WikiLeaks truly a source of last resort where individuals concerned with the actions of their organization can turn to , or does it serve as a de facto intelligence organization, actively recruiting individuals to gather and release classified or secret information? The people do not know because WikiLeaks is keeping the information secret and thus avoiding the secrutiny it claims is of utmost importance.