December 8, 2010
Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs Withdraws Its Warning to Students About Leaked Diplomatic Cables
Last week, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs Office of Career Services sent an email to students saying that an alumnus who works at the State Department had recommended that current students not tweet or post links to WikiLeaks because doing so could hurt their career prospects in government service since many of the diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks are classified. That warning has filtered down to some law school career services professionals. Boston University School of Law's career services office, for example, issued a similar warning [text of email via ATL].
The Dean of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, John H. Coatsworth, has now withdrawn its warning to the School's students. Quoting from his email:
Freedom of information and expression is a core value of our institution. Thus, SIPA’s position is that students have a right to discuss and debate any information in the public arena that they deem relevant to their studies or to their roles as global citizens, and to do so without fear of adverse consequences. The WikiLeaks documents are accessible to SIPA students (and everyone else) from a wide variety of respected sources, as are multiple means of discussion and debate both in and outside of the classroom.
Should the U.S. Department of State issue any guidelines relating to the WikiLeaks documents for prospective employees, SIPA will make them available immediately
The Dean's email and the School's Career Services warning email are available on Wired. Official State Department guidance for prospective employees forthcoming?
A Snapshot of WikiLeaks Fallout in the Federal Sector. The Office of Management and Budget reportedly sent agencies a memo on Dec. 3 requiring agency general counsels to send a notice telling federal employees and contractors not to access any classified material unless they've been cleared for access and have a need to know the information. The Commerce Department apparently sent a broadcast email to employees warning that "accessing the Wikileaks documents will lead to sanitization of your PC to remove any potentially classified information from the system and result in possible data loss."
The State Department reportedly has taken the ban a step farther. It has blocked all its employees from accessing the site and is warning all employees not to read the cables even at home, even if just to see if an employee's own cable has been leaked. The Education Department, Department of Energy and the Library of Congress have also blocked access to WikiLeaks (LLB post).
Do note that President Obama signed an Executive Order last year which stated that classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure. [JH]
Wikileak is more change Obama can imaging. We NEED transparency for our global society that we created an cannot control.To many crises. Would we have gone to Iraq over Weapons of mass destruction is we could read the cables first ? Climate Summit ? Redesign our 200 years old political system now. How can a few wise people understand these complex global issues pending ? How can we survive ? Shutting down WL is naive. At least the cork out of the bottle. Fact is that secrets are harder to keep anno 2010. Discuss it is the only option.
Posted by: citizen 3562356 | Dec 8, 2010 6:04:34 AM