The long shadow of WikiLeaks

Talk about a wake-up call. If federal officials needed a reminder about the downside of the Internet’s so-called democratization of information, WikiLeaks has provided it, big time.

The whistle-blowing website has also raised numerous questions that the federal government is just beginning to answer.

In the first days after WikiLeaks released thousands of sensitive and secret State Department documents late last year, much of the talk focused on the diplomatic, political and legal implications. What damage might have been done to foreign relations? Has U.S. national security been compromised? And how should Julian Assange and his inside source be prosecuted?

But now the federal government is confronting what many observers say are the more pressing questions: After all the recent advances in information and data security, how did this happen? How confident can agencies be about preventing such incidents in the future? And what are the ramifications for information sharing and government transparency?

Those questions are bigger than WikiLeaks, and the answers could reshape how government operates for years to come. With that in mind, Federal Computer Week contributing editor Brian Robinson asked four experts in relevant fields to discuss the fallout from WikiLeaks' document release and how to mitigate the potential for such incidents in the future.

Here is the lineup of experts.

  • Ambassador David Smith, a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Va., and the U.S. member of the International Security Advisory Board.
  • Shon Harris, a security consultant, founder of Logical Security and a former engineer at the Air Force’s Information Warfare unit.
  • Anthony Williams, co-author of the best-selling "Wikinomics" and its recent follow-up, "Macrowikinomics," and a visiting fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.
  • George Smith, a senior fellow at and a writer and commentator on the science and technology of national security.
Let us know what you think by posting comments.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group