Daniel Ellsberg On Wikileaks

Friday, December 10, 2010

Read a summary of this conversation at It's A Free Country.

Daniel Ellsberg discusses the Wikileaks case, which he sees as analogous to his 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers.


Daniel Ellsberg

Comments [47]

John from Woodcliff Lake

was a great show, but poll question asked was little skewed which I'm suprised no one picked up on - Assange published the info, just like the NY Times did many years ago. Ellsworth HAD ACCESS to the information and felt morally compelled to release it - as he should. The young man who took the info and passed it on to wikileaks should be compared to Ellsburg, and Assange should be compared to the Times. As best I can judge, I believe Ellsburg was acting on a much higher moral level than the young soldier, and the Times was more morally discriminating than Assange - but I think those are the 2 moral judgements that should be compared.

Dec. 10 2010 01:56 PM
Davis Straub from Cathedral City, CA

450,000 supports signed the petition to support Wikileaks:

Dec. 10 2010 01:16 PM
Edward from NJ

@hjs11211, to clarify my earlier statement, yes it's conceivably possible that someone could "hack" into a government or corporate server and steal information. It's far more likely that any breach would come from a human being with access who either knowingly, through malice, copies data or unknowingly, through negligence, opens a physical or virtual door to a malicious individual. No matter how sophisticated your technology is, humans will always be around screw things up.

Dec. 10 2010 12:13 PM
Donna from NYC


Sorry missed the government part. Totally different scenario there. Access was given. Intentionally or unintentionally, who knows. IMO, there is more to that story.

Dec. 10 2010 12:11 PM
Donna from NYC


OK, you can't lock the front door of a site on the Internet if you want the public to have access. So the front door of these sites is not locked. The user data is locked and secure. I do not think that there is any reason to panic about your credit card number getting out. That said, you should have your personal computer secured. Use a good firewall, antivirus and Spyware detector and you should be fine. Make sure your passwords are unique and change them every so often.

The people that are targeting these sites are not out to get you or your cc info, they are protesting.

Dec. 10 2010 12:07 PM

when someone leaves the front door unlocked, i would wonder if the back door is also unlocked
both government and business don’t seem to have an eye, in general, on tech security.

Dec. 10 2010 11:57 AM

Great interview... so good to hear a reasoned discussion of the actual content rather than the posturing from Lieberman, King, Beck, Limblow, et al... Perhaps Lehrer show will revisit the question of whether the US is an empire, seems Mr Ellsberg believes that it is.

Dec. 10 2010 11:51 AM
Donna from NYC


Just because someone knows how to block the enterance to a store, does not mean that they have the ability to crack the safe.

Dec. 10 2010 11:48 AM

Mr. Ellsberg is wrong. The New York Times has not determined which cables WikiLeaks has published.

The Times did not receive the cables from WikiLeaks for this latest round of releases. WikiLeaks' decisions to release documents are independent.

Dec. 10 2010 11:39 AM

Why is brian reinforcing the current big lie that the media/government is using to purport to distinguish wikileaks from conventional media, ie. that it is "indiscriminate" and released "thousands of cables".

This is objectively false. As of now Wikileaks has released, in the current batch of diplomatic cables, 1200 cables.

I respect your show a lot, but what is the justification for persisting in propagating this falsehood--you should know it is false since glenn greenwald told you yesterday.

Dec. 10 2010 11:39 AM
JT from LI

I have to disagree with Brian on the hackers being like 60s protesters. The only reason the denial of service attacks are taking place is because it's anonymous. In fact they don't even have to do anything. Run a program on their computers and walk away. When they have the guts to protest in public, giving up their time, comfort and safety, then they can be compared to 60s protesters.

Dec. 10 2010 11:38 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

Interesting distinction by Ellsberg on the question of violence in the case of WikiLeaks and the hacktivists.

Dec. 10 2010 11:36 AM
John Raby from Warren, NJ

I'm inclined to agree with Daniel Ellsberg. If Julian Assange goes to jail, so should George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove for outing Valerie Plame. No double standard, please.

Dec. 10 2010 11:36 AM

Donna from NYC
i understand that. but still that was not my question

Dec. 10 2010 11:36 AM
Mike from Tribeca

I see the wingnuts at Fox News are calling for the assassination of Mr. Assange, which I find ironic since the leading propagator of misinformation in this country is their own boss, Rupert Murdoch.

By the way, in my previous comment, I meant to write "freedom of the press" not "express."

Dec. 10 2010 11:36 AM

One of the startling pleasures of getting grey hair, I've noticed ...

Even the rowdiest rebels get treated like Brahmans once enough years have passed!

Ellsberg must be having quite a laugh at how hard people are listening to this (admittedly good hearted-- heroic, even) rock thrower!

Dec. 10 2010 11:36 AM
Paul from NYC

Let's be honest everyone -- Assange's real purpose is the defeat of capitalism -- no more, no less. The discussions that have been waged to defend either side of the matter have interestingly avoided this point, most tellingly. The ability of the US to manifest any true democratic reality has been totally usurped by the Old-World bloodline families and their machinations at all levels of government... Kudos, Julian. You may even get the Nobel Peace Prize one day.

Dec. 10 2010 11:33 AM
April from Manhattan

Have we ever left a country w/o also leaving a military base? Ask cab drivers how many in their country. Two Columbians have told me three, one involved in narco trafficking. Yes, That's U.S. the world loathes us rightly. We must change.

Dec. 10 2010 11:30 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Daniel Ellsberg also didn't do the equivalent of editing a video of combat footing & titling it "Collateral Murder"--which turned out to be more complicated than Assange made it sound. He does seem to have learned better to some extent, & he has more recently worked w/the newspapers he's released the documents to & put them on his site only w/the redactions they made, as Mr. Ellsberg pointed out. So what Assange is doing is also more complicated than many people are making it sound.

Dec. 10 2010 11:28 AM
CE Connelly from Manhattan

Wow. Someone who has actually read what Assange and written and listened to what he really said. I'm still not sure where I stand on the leaks but I feel able to make a much, much more informed decision. So much of what I've heard about Assange and Wikileaks has not been based on fact.

Dec. 10 2010 11:28 AM
Mike from Tribeca

Assange has gotten some flack and snickers for claiming to be a journalist, but it seems to me he's more like a publisher, and as A.J. Liebling said, freedom of the press belongs only to those who own one.

Ergo, this is a legitimate freedom of the express issue.

Dec. 10 2010 11:27 AM
Julian from Manhattan

Bless you Daniel Ellsberg, for what you did, and your prominence now on this issue. With all the trumpeting of patriotism in this country by Tea Party and other right wingers, YOU are a true patriot.

Dec. 10 2010 11:27 AM

Wow, Ellsberg is amazing. So reasonable. Wish there were more people like him.

Dec. 10 2010 11:26 AM
jean-marc from New York

It is so refreshing to listen to Daniel Ellsberg's perspective on the Wikileaks drama.
Made my day.

Dec. 10 2010 11:25 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Lying to the American people to get them into a war that results in the death and maiming of thousands of them wasting millions of their tax dollars for no reason is treason, NOT revealing the truth. Get a grip.

So happy to hear Ellsberg, he is a true hero.

Dec. 10 2010 11:24 AM
john from office

What a pompous man, he is to decide what is and is not important, to the security of the USA.

Treason is treason, lets go to the strong Oak tree.

Dec. 10 2010 11:24 AM
Donna from NYC

It's apples and oranges. Edward from NJ is correct.

Dec. 10 2010 11:23 AM
Steve from NYC

Ellsberg released documents to make the US and the gov't a better and more honest system. WikiLeaks has a purpose to destroy or incapacitate the gov't of the US in the conduct of the system.

Dec. 10 2010 11:20 AM

Edward from NJ
" Denial of service attacks don't put user data at risk"
that was not my point. they seem to have very weak protections in general

Dec. 10 2010 11:19 AM

You nailed it, jen from nyv. In light of this statement alone, how can we take the views of such a guest seriously?

" jen from nyv

"In some cases women?" are misreading? Yes, women are not much on READING."

Dec. 10 2010 11:17 AM
Donna from NYC

A rational voice of reason on the news? Wow, how refreshing. Thanks Daniel.

Dec. 10 2010 11:16 AM
Hugh Sansom

Forty years later, narrow-minded bigots still calling for the total annihilation of the US Constitution. Daniel Ellsberg guilty of treason? have we learned nothing about the systematic (and arguably really treasonable) lies of US government figures. George W. Bush, Cheney, Rice and now Obama -- responsible for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.

If Americans don't understand the need for opposition to government corruption -- and to the slavish obedience of US media hacks like The NYT's John Burns -- then there is no hope for this country at all.

Dec. 10 2010 11:16 AM
Assange is NOT American!

Ellsberg's actions SAVED LIVES, American as well as Vietnamese. Assange is no criminal, but he acted from a childish need to embarrass the United States, a country of which he isn't even a *citizen*. He acted within his rights, but he's no hero.

Dec. 10 2010 11:15 AM

I'm interested in the phrase "in order to get this information to the American people." Mr. Ellsberg used this phrase to express Manning's reported motivation for being willing apparently to risk his life and freedom in taking the actions he did. In your understanding, or in your view, Mr. Ellsberg, what information exactly is it that Manning had in mind that needed to be shared with the American people? In other words, what is the specific or general significance of the "information" that is imagined to be being "gotten to" the American people in this case? Thank you.

Dec. 10 2010 11:14 AM
Jay F.

Manning is a traitor, Assange is a spy... both should be dealt with accordingly. Who ever thinks Assange is a publisher are way off base. All he did was leak documents for friends and foes to see. Publishing on the web is called posting. Give me a break.

Dec. 10 2010 11:14 AM
EVC from B'klyn

In light of the content of the material that has become public, I agree w Ellsberg, that Wikileaks has been a positive: the Obama Climate talks manipulations, the Italian revelations about the CIA rendition, the case in Spanish courts by the family of the reporter killed by an American tank crew in Baghdad... and so many others

Dec. 10 2010 11:12 AM

The Government lying to its citizens is the bigger treason.

Dec. 10 2010 11:12 AM
jen from nyv

"In some cases women?" are misreading? Yes, women are not much on READING.

Dec. 10 2010 11:12 AM
John from Office

He was a homsexual troubled young man. I guess he is the equivilent to you. He was in the military and owes a duty to the Army.

Dec. 10 2010 11:11 AM
john from office

The word is treason, Brian. He should have been shot for treason. He is no hero.

Dec. 10 2010 11:09 AM
Edward from NJ

@hjs11211: "if the corporate servers can fall with such ease, is my data safe with them, is my credit info safe?"

Denial of service attacks don't put user data at risk. They just temporarily muck things up. Very few, if any, of the people involved in the attacks would be capable of actually stealing your data. I'm certain people are trying to steal credit information from Paypal, Mastercard, and Amazon all the time. If someone manages to steal your info it will most likely be a trusted employee with a thumbdrive -- which actually answers your first question.

Dec. 10 2010 11:07 AM


2nd - No, No, Yes

Dec. 10 2010 11:00 AM

the real story :
first it’s the government's job to keep it’s secrets. When is this incompetence going to be investigated?
2nd if the corporate servers can fall with such ease, is my data safe with them, is my credit info safe? Is the barndoor wide open?

Dec. 10 2010 10:56 AM
Edward from NJ

WikiLeaks is a media outlet not the leaker or whistle blower. Wouldn't Bradley Manning be the Daniel Ellsberg in the current situation? The one important distinction would be that Ellsberg knew exactly what he had while Manning took a whole lot of stuff figuring that there had to be something good in there. It's the difference between a rifle and a shotgun.

Dec. 10 2010 10:40 AM

As Glenn Greenwald stated, Julian Assange has made some mistakes, but the demonization of him is disgusting and nauseating. The MSM has disgraced itself by whipping up hysteria and promoting a lynch mob mentality against Assange. Wolf Blitzer should have been suspended for advocating that the govt engage in a denial of service against Wikileaks.

Dec. 10 2010 10:40 AM
Paul I. Adujie from New York, United States

The Pentagon Papers are the precursors or progenitors of WikiLeaks and Mr. Julien Assange ... I do fervently and passionately believe that Mr. Assange and his coterie of associates and facilitators stand for truth and honesty in public discourse.

Conspiracies, falsehoods and deceits, are the stock of diplomats, politicians and government officials... it seems... from these revelations by WikiLeaks conspiracies, falsehoods and deceits are the tools of injustices worldwide... and this is what WikiLeaks have exposed again and again...

The world should starve politicians, diplomats and other charlatans of secrecy which enable them to engage in shenanigans!

WikiLeaks and The New York Times stand for public good, our common good.

Think about this, it is now being insisted upon, that, secrecy, frauds and deceits are legitimate tools of American and western diplomacy and governance? But how about the familiar sanctimonious accountability, transparency and press freedom etc?

Wikileaks & Julian Assange, Heroism, Courage, Visionary Of Our Time

Dec. 10 2010 10:36 AM
Jim from Brooklyn

I think a better analogy is:

Wikileaks is the new photography.

A new technology that changes news gathering.

Dec. 10 2010 10:34 AM

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