Saturday, December 4, 2010

@StateDept - re: Wikileaks & social networks-- Confidential was so last week.

Let me just state that I am not discussing the Wikileaks fiasco tonight. I was going to, but then this little issue popped up...

Dear State Department,

I am rather irritated by your request to the students of Columbia that they refrain from discussing Wikileaks on Facebook and Twitter. It is utter nonsense to claim that discussing what can now be considered public knowledge should have any effect whatsoever on a person's ability to handle confidential information. The information revealed by Wikileaks stopped being confidential the moment the first few cables were shared with the entire world. (Or, if you want to get technical, when they were leaked by someone-- possibly in the State Department!) Get over it. The information is out there (and oh, is it so very interesting...). This is a public matter now. What you should be focused on right now is not threatening students' future jobs or even hunting down Julian Assange, but finding out who it was that breached confidentiality protocol, and preventing future leaks. Assange is just the messenger, the face to the Wikileaks name. He is not the one you should be worried about. ([gasp!] There's a spy among you! A double agent! Oh no!)

Students should absolutely use this situation to their advantage to discuss diplomatic/international affairs (as well as the need for honest/privacy) in matters of state, how to avoid international incidents if issues like this should arise, etc. I'm sure you get my point. This is a learning experience in foreign relations, not a time for you, the government, to tell the world to cover their ears and pretend they've never heard of the most infamous scandal of their lifetimes (well, other than the Clinton affair, but we were little kids back then...).

Yes, there are some secrets that should probably never be shared. But the problem is, once they're out, they're out, and there is nothing you can do about it. Trust me, I've been there. Forget about trying to control what people are talking about, and focus on what you do best- controlling what people know. And the whole being a diplomat thing, because odds are, you're probably going to need that skill right now.

All of that being said, I am thrilled I decided a long time ago that I had no interest in working for you, or the United Nations. (And it is likely that you will reject my younger sister as well. But that's for your own good. She's a total bitch.) I hope you all have happy, long lives, locked away alone in your "secret" little buildings, pretending the world doesn't know anything about what you do-- just the way you want it.


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