Clinton Denies U.S. Hypocrisy on WikiLeaks Case

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-02-15 Print this article Print


Countries will not be able to maintain divisions that separate economic activity on the Internet from social, religious or political activity, Clinton said, referencing the recent demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt. "There isn't an economic Internet and a social Internet and a political Internet. There's just the Internet," she said.

Clinton said balancing security and liberty was critical in ensuring an open Internet. The qualities that make the Internet "a force for unprecedented progress" also makes it easy for wrong-doing, she said. The United States track and deter criminals and terrorists online to fight cyber-crime and work with other countries to fight online crime that crosses boundaries, she said. Governments that arrest bloggers, pry into their citizens' activities, and limit access to the Internet in the name of security are "taking the wrong path," she said.

Hours after the speech, the Justice Department appeared in a Virginia court to convince a judge to order Twitter to release account information to the US government about people connected with WikiLeaks.

It would be near impossible to speak about Internet freedom without addressing the diplomatic cables WikiLeaks posted online last November, so Clinton addressed it head-on. Clinton denied there was any hypocrisy in calling on governments to "defend and protect an open Internet" while denouncing WikiLeaks because the central issue was theft, not online communications.

"Government documents were stolen, just the same as if they had been smuggled out in a briefcase," she said. "The fact that Wikileaks used the Internet is not the reason we criticized it," she said. She also denied the government intervened with any companies to sever ties with the site. Politicians may have spoken out, but that wasn't the same as the US government, she said.

The Obama administration will complete an international strategy for cyber-space later this year outlining in greater detail the rules of the online road that the United States wants to see in place, according to Clinton.

The State Department created a Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues to focus on cyber-security policies and facilitate cooperating within the department and across other agencies, Clinton said. She named Christopher Painter, a former senior director for cyber-security at the National Security Council, to head the office.


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