Another well-known conservative is coming to the defense of secrets outlet WikiLeaks.
In a recent essay, Jack Hunter at The American Conservative magazine argued that fellow conservatives should consider supporting WikiLeaks because limiting and challenging government power was the founders' intent and "these have always been core conservative principles."
At the end of November, WikiLeaks began publishing over 250,000 secret US State Department embassy cables. Though the world's media has been consumed with reporting on the trove of new data, approximately 1 percent has been released thus far, and most of it by professional news outlets.
Fellow conservative Ron Paul, a Republican Congressman from Texas, also stuck up for the secrets website. "What we need are more WikiLeaks", he said in a recent interview.
"To say that government must keep secrets is not to say that all government secrets must be kept," Hunter argued.
"How often does our government use 'national security' simply as an excuse to cover up questionable dealings?" Hunter asked.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted earlier this year that the leaks had not harmed national security. A preliminary review "has not revealed any sensitive intelligence sources and methods compromised" by the 77,000 Afghanistan war documents released by WikiLeaks, Gates told Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
He further downplayed the impact of the latest leaks in recent public statements.
"The fact is governments deal with the United States because it's in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us and not because they think we can keep secrets," Gates said.
Hunter thinks conservatives have a right to know that the US and the European Union had bullied individuals and governments, working to undermine the 2009 climate change summit in Copenhagen.
Conservatives should also praise WikiLeaks for revealing that Saudi Arabia secretly advocated for the US to attack Iran, while publicly arguing against it, he added.
Additional cables released by WikiLeaks revealed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on UN officials.
"And when did conservatives become so protective of Hillary Clinton?" Hunter asked.
"Yet conservatives now attack WikiLeaks for revealing what they once feared," he noted.
"It should also be remembered that the same conservatives now calling for Assange’s head either ignored or were sympathetic to Lewis 'Scooter' Libby's outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame allegedly at the Bush administration's behest — a revelation arguably far riskier to our national security than anything ever released by WikiLeaks," Hunter wrote.
But he said the "worst hypocrisy" was that conservatives reflexively defended the government and attacked WikiLeaks.
"Since when have conservatives believed that Washington should be able to shroud any action it likes in secrecy and that revealing government’s nefarious deeds is tantamount to treason? Isn’t it government officials who might secretly work for corporate, ideological or transnational interests — and against the national interest — who are betraying their country?" he wondered.
"Decentralizing government power, limiting it, and challenging it was the Founders’ intent and these have always been core conservative principles," Hunter observed. "Conservatives should prefer an explosion of whistleblower groups like WikiLeaks to a federal government powerful enough to take them down."