Does the Leaking of Government Information Pose a Threat to the United States’ National Security?

In 2010, the website WikLeaks leaked secret government information that a whistleblower had provided it that included details about the U.S. military involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. government immediately began an investigation and sought to arrest Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who played a role in publishing the documents. A British court recently ruled in favor of extraditing Assange back to the United States to face trial, and the news has again raised questions over if leaking secret government information is beneficial to American society or not.

Those who argue that the leaking of government information does pose a threat to the United States’ national security contend that people who leak government secrets risk releasing sensitive information to our foreign enemies. They argue that Assange and others like him use the guise of freedom of the press to dangerously release information that threaten the lives of both Americans and their allies. For example, they contend that part of the information Assange leaked included the names of undercover allies in the Taliban, whose identities were made known to the world.

Those who argue that the leaking of government information does not pose a threat to the United States’ national security contend that individuals who release government secrets are helping the American people keep their government accountable. They argue that the freedom of the press was designed in part to make sure the people can keep an eye on government actions. Since whistleblowers release information that the government wants to keep out of the view of the public, this side argues that their actions are patriotic. Finally, they may argue that while sensitive information may pose a threat to national security in small ways, the benefits of opening up government secrets far outweighs the negatives.

So, what do you think? Does the Leaking of Government Information Pose a Threat to the United States’ National Security? Students can answer Yes, they do; No, they do not; or a nuanced answer in between. Be sure to submit your answers by December 21st to have your answer be considered for this week’s contest.

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:

-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner

-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers

-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors

-They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner

-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly

Current Standings:
Yes: 89%
No: 11%
  • Brielle from Montana

    Leaking government information could put our countries future and the lives of American citizens in harms way. Although I believe our right to Freedom of the Press should be protected, detrimental information should never be leaked.

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    Leaking government information could put our countries future and the lives of American citizens in harms way. Although I believe our right to Freedom…

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  • Jenna from Kentucky

    Though the public has a right to know certain things regarding government information, the leaking of this information is dangerous to national security because of those outside the government and the US. If they receive this information they could potentially use it to harm the government or citizens of the US. The government usually keeps the public away from certain topics to avoid chaos and taking information out of context.

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    Though the public has a right to know certain things regarding government information, the leaking of this information is dangerous to national securi…

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  • Arena from North Dakota

    Leaking information does pose a threat to our nations security because if it is a secret it is a secret for a reason. I mean it is necessary not only to keep us safe but also because it will help to keep peace in our nation. In some cases would it probably be nice if the public knew some things but in the long run it may be safer if we didn’t. I mean no news in bad news.

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    Leaking information does pose a threat to our nations security because if it is a secret it is a secret for a reason. I mean it is necessary not only …

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  • Renee from North Dakota

    I think the security of our nation is under threat when our information is leaked. Not everyone needs to know what’s going on. We could have important information against other countries. If that was put into jeopardy then the enemy could counter act. We could possibly have many more riots because of the citizens not liking the things going on within the nation. Not everything is butterflies and rainbows.

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    I think the security of our nation is under threat when our information is leaked. Not everyone needs to know what’s going on. We could have important…

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  • Santos from Montana

    Yes I think it can pose a threat depending on the information. If someone takes this information and leaks it to another country, it can put the U.S. in danger. Information like government facility locations, leader plans, country plans against other countries. However if it is information that only revolves in the borders of the united states, I doubt other countries will want that information.

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    Yes I think it can pose a threat depending on the information. If someone takes this information and leaks it to another country, it can put the U.S. …

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  • Matus from North Dakota

    It has to stay secret

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  • Zoe from North Dakota

    I believe no because it is an invasion of privacy and the government doesn’t tell us things for a reason. It can easily be a threat, but I can see where it could be a good thing government info is leaked. Some of the government’s plans can be absurd and we should do something about it. However, I dont think we should meddle with our country’s information, but maybe they shouldn’t invade our privacy either.

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    I believe no because it is an invasion of privacy and the government doesn’t tell us things for a reason. It can easily be a threat, but I can see whe…

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  • Austin from North Dakota

    Yes obviously leaking classified information is a severe national security issue. Whatever’s classified is classified for a reason. For example some of the things that were exposed were some military non ethical actions which yes we probably should have known about that, but right now America really doesn’t need another hate riot. We have enough of those as it is.

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    Yes obviously leaking classified information is a severe national security issue. Whatever’s classified is classified for a reason. For example some o…

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  • Lane from North Dakota

    If you leak sensitive information about the National government other countries could get ahold of this information and use it against us.

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  • Hello from North Dakota

    I think it is because its letting people from the outside in. They could see what we planned but also could be things that they are hiding from the US

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  • Ryan from Illinois

    Yes, I believe that leaking government information does pose a threat to the United States’ security. There are some secrets that should be kept, such as the names of Afghans that helped the United States during the extensive Afghanistan conflict. Revealing these names is an example of something that can put not just the country as a whole in danger, but individual people as well. There are also cases where certain information should not be kept secret, however. If information can be deemed to not be a threat to the country and her people, there should be no reason to keep it secret, and it should be revealed. But, I believe the risks of revealing information far outweigh the benefits of revealing government inner workings and secrets, odds are they’re secret for a reason. There can be cases where illegal things should be brought to light, but again, I think the dangers of revealing information are too vast to risk it in many cases.

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    Yes, I believe that leaking government information does pose a threat to the United States’ security. There are some secrets that should be kept, su…

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  • Kieran from Illinois

    Yes I believe that leaking government information in the right context is very bad. for example if we release information that the government has with the military to other countries they could use that information to attack the USA in a week point, or if they released something that’s against the UN policy’s that they did in the past other countries could exploit that. So I believe that in a general sense it is very bad in almost all cases.

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    Yes I believe that leaking government information in the right context is very bad. for example if we release information that the government has with…

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  • Kieran from Illinois

    Yes becuase there could be information that we dont want other countries getting about america

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    • Evan from Illinois

      Yes, things could get out and put our country in danger

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  • Dessteny from Illinois

    Yes I believe that it is a form to put the United States in danger because not only is it leaking information about the United States it can also be involving other countries. Unless it’s a fraud or something, it’s only fair for the country to take responsibility for what has been done. Everything has limits and should come out in truth whether it is good or bad. Even though most of the time people don’t have good intentions It can also depend on the way it’s been leaked if the person has good intentions and it’s only trying to do good by informing someone what has been done it is completely different. On the other hand there’s times when they mean harm and are trying to destroy something. It’s putting it in danger. As a government who is trying to keep the people safe it’s okay to have secrets because that is just a form for them to make more stronger moves toward anyone who is against them or for our future. Every country needs their own secrets in order to work and process everything right and for it to be safe for the people .Regarless of what it is Leaking such information can cause many people harm and some things are just not meant to be leaked for everyone’s safety. Leaking information specially when allies are involved can just become a disaster and can create unwanted serious conflict. It also depends who is leaking the information. If it is someone out of the United States it would be dangerous to the United estates. They most likely see it as a threat.

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    Yes I believe that it is a form to put the United States in danger because not only is it leaking information about the United States it can also be i…

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  • Helen from District Of Columbia

    It depends. I chose yes because I think it must be done carefully in a way that doesn’t put anyone in danger. For example, revealing the names of Afghans who helped the US at their own risk is not necessary and it is dangerous. It also depends on what the intention is for leaking government information. If you leak information because you found something that shows that the government lied or broke the law and you want them to be held accountable, that is one thing. If you leaked the information because you wanted other countries to get it, that is basically spying. However, holding the government accountable is important, and it can’t be done by regular people. It has to be done by journalists who can investigate everything, and concisely report on what they found. So it really depends on what is being leaked and why.

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    It depends. I chose yes because I think it must be done carefully in a way that doesn’t put anyone in danger. For example, revealing the names of Afgh…

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  • James from Illinois

    The question isn’t “should the leaking of government information be allowed under the first amendment”, it’s “does the leaking of government information pose a threat to national security”. While there certainly are instances where the leaking of government information doesn’t pose a threat, there are many more instances where the leaking of government information poses a large threat to national security. Confidential government information regarding foreign policy will almost always pose a threat to national security if leaked. A nation that learns the US is doing something it shouldn’t is likely to either act in retaliation or demand reparations. For example, in the 2010 WikLeaks/Julian Assange case, the names of US allies in the Taliban were released. Even ignoring the threats this poses to those individuals, this puts the US at risk of retaliation from the Taliban. Using this information, the Taliban could go after these allies to obtain information about the US, or even launch an attack with these uncovered spies as the basis for retaliation. Opposing arguments likely say that the government shouldn’t do things that put national security at risk regardless, so if these secret actions are revealed it will not affect our nation negatively and will instead push the US to not take these risky actions in the first place. However, there is a necessity that the US takes risky actions in order to increase national security, and if the US is going to take these actions anyway, then there is an importance that these actions remain covert.

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    The question isn’t “should the leaking of government information be allowed under the first amendment”, it’s “does the leaking of government…

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  • Ariana from California

    Does the Leaking of Government Information Pose a Threat to United States Security?
    It depends on the fact and the information leaked and it would be a case-by-case analysis to best balance national security with individual expression. Generally, individual rights must be given full protection and the induvial must decide for themselves whether releasing the information with consequences is worth the risk and penalty.
    As for, Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, he knew the risks and was aware of the consequences but felt the illegal acts of this own government, the United States should be stopped and known by the world. Sometimes governments break laws and are bad actors and it takes the courage of individuals to risk their own personal freedom to stop them.
    As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, has told us an “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He believed that denial of constitutional rights to anyone potentially violates the rights of all. He also stated that “the moral law must trump the immoral law” because “an unjust law is not a law.” We must be willing to stand up and fight any and all wrongs, no matter how unpopular they may be, for morality must be upheld and no one is above the law but God.
    Therefore the leaking of information may pose a threat, but it depends on the type of information that was leaked, and the reason for the leaking of the information. Regardless, if the trust was betrayed in leaking the information there must be the consequences for person leaking the information. That individual must decide for themselves whether they are willing to accept those consequences in the name of the greater good for the world. In our great democracy, we must stand on the side of individual expression to balance the risk of acting on their decisions. “One Man’s Traitor is Another’s Patriot” is a title of a book by Michael A. Eggleston and it is about the American Revolution. Although, I draw the line and condemn and do not support acts of terror, terrorism, or freedom fighters that commit death, destruction, and harm in the name of the greater good or cause.

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    Does the Leaking of Government Information Pose a Threat to United States Security?
    It depends on the fact and the information leaked and it would be…

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