The recent inadvertent revelation that Assange has been charged with one or more crimes by the Justice Department was welcome news to anyone who believes that leakers like him threaten both this country’s security and the peace of nations. What WikiLeaks reminds us is that the naivety of liberals — with their slogans about the value of transparency and their meliorist faith in the redemptive power of technology — is as valuable to America’s enemies as the crimes of right-wing torture apologists. They are equally ready to appeal to windy nonsense about knowledge, openness, freedom of information, the shortcomings of our welfare state, our supposed ignorance of science or to our decadence, our collapsing borders, our lamentable social progress, and our racial unrest as circumstances dictate. President Trump certainly benefited from the release of John Podesta’s emails, but so did Jill Stein. It is not the promotion of any particular candidate or ideology that Moscow and Beijing and Tehran seek but a decline in the credibility of American institutions. One day their target is the CIA or the military, the next it is our election process. Who could argue that they have not not succeeded?
Which is why I am hoping that Robert Mueller, who seems to be responsible for the recent charges against Assange, has his eye on Edward Snowden as well. It is difficult to think of a more straightforward example of collusion between the Russian government and an American national to undermine our government than a man stealing thousands of documents from our intelligence services, sharing them with foreign journalists, and finding a refuge from American justice in Moscow, where he now lives the comfortable life of a Soviet-era defector, playing on his computer and giving seminars via Skype.