Re: how a PFC gets everything
It's all on a classifed internet that (most) everything up to a certain security level is on worldwide. In Afghanistan in particular, there's so much 'inter-disciplinary' points of action (like counter IED, anti-corruption, etc) that's it's not only is it worthwhile to be able to access nearly everything on a single network, it would be impossible to work without it. (putting aside the question of what we're doing over there is 'possible', and also noting that a good deal of stovepiping still happens and this whole thing didn't help shifting some of those attitudes).
Re: "So you're saying that we should trust the government's judgment about what needs to be classified, just in case releasing that information might not serve any direct social utility?"
& "Will Al Qaeda kill me or my family (or anybody else who's in the US minding their own business) tomorrow if Julian Assange does what he does?"
First what I wrote earlier was when I thought they (wikileaks) had just dumped the diplomatic cables wholesale on the net. If they didn't the following explanation isn't as strong:
I'm starting from the premise that as long as one accepts
1) That around ten score nation states is the way the world has been divided up into these days
2) That United States is superlative in many measures of ranking these nation states, and in the top tier in most others (and I'm talking objective, non-value laden measures like size, population, wealth, etc)
3) That #2 makes interactions with the rest of the crowd inevitable and unavoidable
4) That among the complete collection of nation states, they run the spectrum of BFF's to open hostility and everything in between for various historical and personal reasons
5) That this is the state play, and that it is likely the way it's going to be for a while, and that like the quip about democracy, the current system of international rational (and sometimes not) anarchy is probably the least worst system that could exist.
6) That even the most mini minarchist holds that the United States Government a) should exist and b) should have a 'foreign policy'
7) That although much patriotism is bunk, and for example, the patriotism rightly derided by Fogerty that is too often invoked by the Republican party (among others) is especially bunk, not all patriotism is bunk. Call it a 'fondness' if you will. Whatever you want to call it, an affinty toward the body politic that the United States government is consituted to look out for the collective interest of the same.
So the US Government is inevitably going to have communcations between its emmisaries around the world and its duly elected leaders, so that the latter can make decisions for the collective interest. And for the same reason that attorney-client communcations are normally privilleged, these communications can be sensitive, and the blanket revelation of them can damage the ability for the United States Government to conduct its affairs with other nation states. That's what I'm saying.
No, Al Qaeda isn't going to kill anyone due to the release of diplomatic cables. That's not what I'm talking about and that's never been what I've been talking about.
As far a 'trust the government' - at a certain level, once you've bought into 'the state' as a neccesary entity, there's going to be secrets. So yeah, you're going to have to, and at something greater than some de minimus level. The only thing you can do is push for maximum disclosure - through legitmate channels (yeah question begging alert flare launched) - and to push for elected leaders that push for the same.
Yes, whistleblowing is a brave activity that, like civil disobedience, rarely comes out well for the whistblower but does in the long run promote and foster 'justice'. But you know what doesn't? Some jackass publishing senstive information that in no way reveals that some sort of malfeseance occured. In fact, it makes the work of worthwhile whistblowing that much harder, because this type of stuff increases presumptions against them.
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex