Reports that Wikileaks users may be subjected to being barred from working in government establishments has caused a number of people to question whether even accessing the files involved in the Wikileaks anti-conspiracy site could lead to problems later on in their lives. Could reading or writing information about Wikileaks actually cost you a future working for the government?
Many news agencies that have been accessing Wikileaks have expressed concern over their employees accessing information considered restricted or classified. The same has gone for the hundreds of mirror sites channeling the information to a public hungry for the truth on a number of highly contentious political matters. But as the Wikileaks story plays out several are expressing the need for perspective on the backlash on accessing Wikileaks. As supporters and opponents flood the internet sending out attacks in both directions many of those caught up in the middle fear that they too will be caught up in one side of the argument or another and be targeted not only by hackers, but by the government itself.
But are you in danger of losing future opportunities if you access files from the site Wikileaks? CNN recently posted an article where many analysts said it was complicated, but entirely possible. All other things being equal, the opinions of prospective employees are widely known to be considered by prospective employees. In this case, the classic ‘freedom of speech’ issue takes another step toward ‘freedom to hear.’ But is it possible that these avenues of free speech are being purposefully tapped to test an executive order created by the president in 2009?
Executive Order 13526 regarding classified and security information drafted by the president says that those who distribute information that is still considered classified are in violation of this order if they distribute the information without proper authority while in the employ of the government. Under section 5.5 labeled “sanctions” subsection c, the provision suggests that “Sanctions may include reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions in accordance with applicable law and agency regulation.” In other words, an employee who talks about what’s going on in Wikileaks while employed by the government could be subject to punishment leading to the full extent of the law.
But does this mean that private citizens could face penalties? It’s not illegal to read the news. So if the information distributed by news agencies has reached the mainstream, the difference between seeing the information on a news site and accessing Wikileaks is apparently a very large one according to those investigating the matter.
But there has been another theory coming up fairly often around the internet, although many consider it widely incredible. Is it possible that the entire Wikileaks program is more controlled than it seems? Is it possible that this entire thing could just be a program designed to track how information is spread throughout the world as the government attempts to keep up with the booming market of independent and understandably difficult to control media?