WikiLeaks is not taking up arms to murder Americans, but if Iran or North Korea—or Mexico or Canada, for that matter—had taken the same actions as Assange and Snowden, we would consider it a grave national-security threat and respond accordingly. We would arrest any spies that we could get our hands on, of course, but we’d hardly consider that an adequate response.
And so it is with WikiLeaks. An organization is defined by what it does, not what it says, and this one has made clear it is interested in damaging the interests of the United States. WikiLeaks believes that it is doing the world a service by acquiring secrets and disposing and exposing them as it sees fit—and now by protecting others who do so. It seems mostly interested in U.S. and British secrets, it’s important to note; we’re still waiting for the Cuban, North Korean, and Chinese WikiLeaks dumps.
Let’s not pretend that the actions of Snowden, Assange, and WikiLeaks are, as once was famously said, a third-rate burglary. WikiLeaks has made clear its interest in taking on the United States. Let’s do now what we failed to with al Qaeda in the decade before 9/11: take it at its word, respect its capabilities and stated intent, and respond with our own not-so-modest capabilities to defend the United States.