Despite collusion with Russia, leaks are crucial to keeping government honest
By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer
The role whistleblowing has in politics is hard to overstate. It places an enormous pressure on governments to remain legitimate, knowing that corruption, collusion, and mistakes may be displayed for the public to see. Unfortunately, the largest role whistleblowing has played recently was an involvement in getting Donald Trump elected, potentially in collusion with Russia, and something that terrible can make it easy to forget all the good that WikiLeaks and its ilk have done in politics.
In 2006, Julian Assange established WikiLeaks, a website built to hold documents hacked from government databases that reveal corruption and illegal activities. In the early 2010s, WikiLeaks would come to the international stage as both Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning used the platform to leak documents regarding international spying and military atrocities in Iraq respectively, along with evidence of large-scale corruption in both the Democratic and Republican parties. These three people, along with several others from countries around the world, have changed modern geopolitics and created a system that can hold governments accountable in a way that could never have been done before.
During the 2016 American election, WikiLeaks was strategically releasing files seemingly with the intent to cost Hillary Clinton a presidential victory. Thousands of documents, internal memos, and emails were revealed in 2016, proving that Clinton and the DNC were up to seriously illegal and unethical stuff during the past few years. Of all the documents leaked, almost none of them related in any way to the Republic Party or Donald Trump. While the idea of a whistleblowing agency being controlled by a government—apparently Russia in this case—is terrifying and undeniably horrible, an even worse outcome is the American government using this as an excuse to crack down even harder on people who try to bring crimes and corruption to light.
Faith in WikiLeaks is shaken, as it should be. The entire organization may have been compromised by a government, or it uncharacteristically chose a political leaning. This is not okay. But what’s even less okay is allowing the American government, or any government, to take further actions against the whistleblowers that have been an unbelievable positive for our countries, even if it means WikiLeaks remains unfairly biased against the Democrats. A single ethical whistleblower is more trustworthy than an entire government, especially when that government has so much to hide.