Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2010 / 21 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771
All Quiet on the Black-Ops Front
By Jonah Goldberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I'd like to ask a simple question: Why isn't Julian Assange dead?
In case you didn't know, Assange is the Australian computer programmer behind WikiLeaks, a massive -- and massively successful -- effort to disclose secret or classified information. In a series of recent dumps, he unveiled thousands upon thousands of classified documents from the wars in
Even Assange agrees. He told the New Yorker earlier this year that he fully understands innocent people might die as a result of the "collateral damage" of his work, and that WikiLeaks may have "blood on our hands." WikiLeaks is easily among the most significant and well-publicized breaches of American national security since the Rosenbergs gave the Soviets the bomb.
So again, I ask: Why wasn't Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?
It's a serious question.
In almost every corner of the popular culture, there are people who assume incredible competence on the part of our intelligence agencies. We take it as a given that spooks can, in the immortal words of Elvis, take care of business in a flash. In the Jason Bourne movies, say the wrong word into your cell phone, and assassins will find you at the train station in minutes. In AMC's "Rubicon," if you pay too close attention to crossword puzzles, your train will be "accidentally" derailed. In "Three Days of the Condor," if you ask your bosses the wrong question, a postman with a ice-bullet-shooting machine gun will pay you a visit.
Of course, that's just
Under either scenario, you'd think Assange, super-whistle-blower of the international left, would be a greasy stain on the Autobahn already.
Meanwhile, conservatives have something like a mirror-image view of the black-ops crowd. We tend to think they're either well-intentioned bunglers or noble ninjas in
Oh, and it's not just nation-states that are threatened by WikiLeaks. These guys spend much of their time going after big corporations that, we're often told -- at least by
Now, I know there are many solid answers to my question. For starters, the world isn't nearly so dramatic as novelists, bloggers, self-important journalists and nostalgic former spies often claim it is. The main reason the U.S. government didn't bring down the
Indeed, most of the documents from WikiLeaks debunk the vast majority of conspiracy theories that fueled so much idiocy on the left for the last decade. No sinister plots involving
Second, Assange is essentially hiding behind his celebrity and the fact that it wouldn't do any good to kill him, given the nature of the Web. Even if the CIA wanted to take him out, they couldn't without massive controversy.
That's because assassinating a hipster Australian Web guru as opposed to a Muslim terrorist is the kind of controversy no official dares invite.
That's fine. And it's the law. Ultimately, I don't expect the U.S. government to kill Assange, but I do expect them to try to stop him. Alas, as of now, the plan seems to be to do nothing at all.
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