Okay that’s not entirely fair. It’s not that the Pentagon wants the documents “back” so much as it wants the website pulled down and whatever documents WikiLeaks hasn’t released yet to be kept secret.
The second half of this equation I suppose I can understand, in the sense that it’s bad enough that the over 75,000 documents were leaked in the first place, so the Pentagon would like to prevent any further catastrophe. Unfortunately, that first part? The whole “taking the leaks down” thing? A fool’s errand.
You see, the documents are out there. Period. Hop onto your favorite BitTorrent website, and not only can you quite easily get the entire batch of leaked documents, but also a mysterious file called “Insurance”. It isn’t WikiLeaks alone that holds the info any more. Internet goers worldwide have made backups and copies and uploaded archives to the point that even if the WikiLeaks HQ got burned to the ground, all it would do is cause more people to feed the machine.
And then there’s “Insurance”. What is “Insurance”? We’re not entirely sure…
Cryptome, another whistleblower site, said it may have been “pre-positioned for public release” in the event of a “takedown” of WikiLeaks by US authorities or if something happens to its founder, Julian Assange, an Australian national.
“In either scenario, WikiLeaks volunteers, under a prearranged agreement with Assange, could send out a password or passphrase to allow anyone who has downloaded the file to open it,” Wired said.
This is a case where you can’t beat the internet. Asking WikiLeaks to simply go quietly is a pointless endeavor, and forcing them would only be worse. Good or bad? Hard to say.