The Wikileaks drama has been unfolding for a while now, but it has now taken a rather humorous turn recently. The CIA is reportedly launching what it calls the Wikileaks Task Force. Observers quickly gave it the acronym, the WTF. The task force is said to be assessing the impact of the release of the diplomatic cables as well as the military war diaries.
It didn’t take long for the WTF to be a running joke online. But the task of the WTF is no joke. The WTFs goal is to assess what impacts the release of the Wikileaks diplomatic cables and military war diaries.
From the report:
CIA officials said the agency is conducting an extensive inventory of the classified information, which is routinely distributed on a dozen or more networks that connect agency employees around the world.
And the task force is focused on the immediate impact of the most recently released files. One issue is whether the agency’s ability to recruit informants could be damaged by declining confidence in the U.S. government’s ability to keep secrets.
“The director asked the task force to examine whether the latest release of WikiLeaks documents might affect the agency’s foreign relationships or operations,” CIA spokesman George Little said. The panel is being led by the CIA’s Counterintelligence Center but has more than two dozen members from departments across the agency.
What’s interesting is that the WTF is suppose to assess what damage has been done as a result of the Wikileaks disclosures, yet the Department of Defense has already said, “WikiLeaks did not disclose any sensitive intelligence sources or methods, the Department of Defense concluded.”
It’s entirely possible that this admission is not deterring the creation of the WTF. As it turns out, the CIA has had a few disclosures in the diplomatic cables that don’t portray the CIA in a positive light. For instance, German authority were warned against pursuing CIA operatives implicated in a kidnapping case. In another case, Wikileaks may have reignited another case of kidnapping where 23 CIA operatives and two Italian agents were convicted. It’s unclear what else has been disclosed about the CIA or what has yet to be exposed about the CIA, but it’s not out of the question that the CIA could have an impact on the conclusions of the WTF, given what was already disclosed by Wikileaks.
One thing is certain, the WTF is already running in to problems being treated seriously – particularly by the internet community who know what else WTF stands for. What impact the WTF will have in this very broad debate over Wikileaks remains to be seen. In the mean time, I’ll be trying not to laugh every time WTF is brought up for the next little while – a challenging task to say the least. Perhaps the name should be modified to be the following: “WTF – We asked so you don’t have to”