Pentagon: We could have shut down Wikileaks but chose not to

I hope he’s telling the truth. Because if our cyberwar unit is so weak that they can’t hit a few servers in Sweden, then I, for one, welcome our new Chinese overlords. The key question: Was this decision driven chiefly by military or political concerns? Could be that the Pentagon suspects foreign powers are monitoring Wikileaks’ servers in hopes of picking up clues about U.S. cyber capabilities in case we attack. Or, it could be that The One fears a five-alarm First Amendment freakout among his base if he dares to knock down an outfit that’s dedicated to compromising U.S. foreign policy with stolen documents. Or, just maybe, the Pentagon realized that taking down the Wikileaks site would achieve nothing since Assange would doubtless end up passing the stolen cables to newspapers anyway. If you think this incident is embarrassing for the U.S. now, imagine the humiliation involved in the Pentagon torpedoing Wikileaks and then seeing the documents turn up on page one of the Times. Sheer impotence.

As for the report linked this morning in Headlines about Wikileaks being hosted on Amazon’s servers, rest easy: You won’t have to do your Christmas shopping elsewhere after all. They were summarily booted this afternoon after congressional staff politely inquired with Amazon as to how this arrangement came to be. According to the AP, server space can be rented from the company on a “self-serve basis,” suggesting that Amazon might not have realized until today just who their new client was. I find that hard to believe given the amount of traffic that must have been flooding in, but then I also find it hard to believe that Amazon wouldn’t have dumped them instantly had they known lest a U.S. boycott cripple their Christmas sales season. (Media reports about the Amazon/Wikileaks were available as early as Monday afternoon.) In any case, Wikileaks has responded with a scathing indictment of Amazon’s lack of respect for the First Amendment, which, according to Wikileaks, apparently somehow constitutionally requires private businesses to host organizations that might be criminally liable under the Espionage Act. Good work, Julian.

In related news, Assange’s mommy would very much like it if you would leave her son alone.