The state department has taken the extraordinary step of disconnecting its own classified computer systems from the rest of the government’s classified computer network as a result of the WikiLeaks debacle. While this move will limit the number of people who have access to the department’s classified communications, it will have the secondary effect of making it harder for department workers to share classified information with other departments.
One on hand, harder sharing doesn’t necessarily seem like a bad idea, until one considers who is watching the watchers. Hunkered down, the State Department becomes a law to itself, and while remaining connected carries with it the continued risk of further exposure, remaining disconnected isolates the government’s diplomatic efforts from the other elements of the executive.
This kind of action can only serve to make the government more dangerous to its citizens and allies, and I suspect that is exactly the kind of effect the leakers wanted to achieve. The government closing in on itself creates a greater risk for risky, illegal, or abusive behavior, which creates a greater incentive for people to leak, which creates even more damage. The State Department is playing right into the leakers hands.
This is the threat non-state actors like the leakers pose to citizens and nations. The question remains whether anyone is ready to rise to the threat.