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Opposition to Leakers - Government Whistleblowers Expose Classified Information

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Are government whistleblowers acting in the public interest, or do they endanger the public by exposing classified information? Just as government transparency has waned in recent years, there have been several instances of very public national intelligence whistle-blowing. Large scale leaks such as those published by The Guardian and WikiLeaks have prompted debate on issues of government secrecy, as well as the balance between security and liberty. High profile whistleblowers like Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden have, at great personal risk, leaked classified information to the public in the interest of transparency. Leaked media and documents range from embarrassing, to potentially dangerous. Heightened levels of…show more content…
New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau were awarded the Pulitzer Prize; Drake was indicted under the espionage act (Wise). The NSA came under scrutiny again in 2013 when Edward Snowden revealed large scale data collection and surveillance programs.
As history can attest, government whistleblowers act honorably for the greater good despite threat of prosecution. Government transparency, especially in acts of war, is important to a functioning democracy. J. William Leonard, former US classifications czar, In the documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, illustrates, “To have those types of decisions, those types of deliberations, done in secrecy is a tremendous disservice to the American people – because these are things being done in their name – so, whether you agree with them or not, to have a free back-and-forth airing of these is essential”. In support of these concepts, those behind WikiLeaks and other government leaks have taken great risks. Birgitta Jonsdottir, member of WikiLeaks and Icelandic parliament, stated, “We were working on something that we knew that could get us into serious trouble and we were all willing to take that consequence” (“We Steal Secrets”). In We Steal Secrets, instant messages between Bradley Manning and the man who eventually turned him in, hacker
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