'The Press Was to Serve the Governed, Not the Governors.'
That was a portion of the opinion of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Black, with regards to the Pentagon Papers ruling brought about by the New York Times publication of disclosures in 1971.
This is a bedrock fundamental expectation guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
I am reminded again of the excellent documentary "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers", which I watched again tonight, in light of all the noise surrounding the Wikileaks disclosures.
If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend doing so.
I have served honorably in the service of my country, handling very highly classified information during my service, and having said that, I believe Daniel Ellsberg to be a hero, not a villain.
Would I have done the same given similar circumstances? I cannot say for sure -- I consider myself a patriot, but I despise lies, deceit, and personal misconduct by public officials whose job it is to serve those that elected them to office.
We are now entering a period where a very similar situation is occurring with regards to Wikileaks, the U.S. Government's efforts to suppress this information, and the vilification of a man who published these documents to shed light on some very dark issues which -- I believe -- the American public has a right to know how their government has behaved.
We live in interesting times -- and it will start becoming much more interesting in very short order, as his extradition, further publication of documents, and the efforts of the U.S. Government to prosecute him under some facet of U.S. law.
We are not children, and we should not be treated as such.