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Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy [Kindle Edition]

The New York Times Staff , Alexander Star
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 2010, the anti-secrecy organization known as WikiLeaks made headlines around the world when it released thousands of classified U.S. government diplomatic cables and battlefield reports. The New York Times played a crucial role in breaking the WikiLeaks story, and “Open Secrets” is the definitive chronicle of the documents’ release and the controversy that ensued. It includes detailed analyses of the documents by Times correspondents; opinion essays by Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd and others; and the full text of all the cables and war logs posted on The Times's Web site, along with 27 new cables selected for this volume. It also includes an essay in which the executive editor of The Times, Bill Keller, explains how the newspaper came to publish documents obtained by WikiLeaks, and why it did; expanded profiles of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks's founder, and Bradley Manning, the Army private suspected of being his source; and original essays on what the fracas has revealed about American diplomacy and government secrecy. A legal and technological thriller and a primer on world politics, "Open Secrets" is also a field guide to how information and power are wielded today, and why it matters.

Editorial Reviews


“Thoughtful analysis of one of the largest leaks of classified information in history—how it happened, what the secret documents say and what it all means. … The New York Times brings welcome order to the chaos of the hundreds of thousands U.S. government documents released last year … An important book that gives coherence to a massive data dump.” —Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

  • File Size: 5111 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Publisher: The New York Times Company; 1.0 edition (January 24, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KZQH12
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,742 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The title of "Open Secrets: Wikileaks, War and American Diplomacy" doesn't do much to explain what the book is about -or isn't about, so I'll start there. This is a collection of 93 articles about the contents and reaction to the Afghan and Iraq War logs, the cache of US State Department cables that Wikileaks has made public, and reaction to Wikileaks itself. All but a handful of the articles have appeared previously in The New York Times. Articles are organized into 6 sections with 5 appendices. The appendices contain diplomatic cables and war logs referenced in the articles, additional images, notes on contributors, and acknowledgements.

If you're looking for new insight into Wikileaks or its collaboration with The New York Times, you won't find it here. Bill Keller's introductory article "The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" (26 January 2011), which caused so much ire when it was published in the paper, appears in slightly longer form here, with no new information. It is well-written but sprinkled with personal attacks on Julian Assange that do more to embarrass Keller. Most of the article is spent reassuring readers of The Times' independence from the other news organizations involved and from the government, its sensitivity to potential harm and national security concerns, and defending its decision to use Wikileaks' material. Keller says exactly what one would expect of an editor caught in a political firestorm. There is nothing sinister about that -but nothing interesting either.

To give the reader some background on the sources of the material, the now-infamous Burns article on Assange (23 October 2010) and somewhat less notorious profile of Bradley Manning by Ginger Thompson (8 August 2010) are included.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read on a modern tale of intrigue February 6, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I was reading the New York Times online when I saw the headline "Dealing With Assange and the Secrets He Spilled." It was a long article, but I was captivated by the story - it was something straight out of a Stieg Larsson novel.

Then I found out that the article was only the first chapter of the NYT's new ebook. "Open Secrets" is a great read, and really gives an insight into how newspapers interact with shadowy sources like Julian Assange. As a journalism major in college, I was fascinated to read what the editors and reporters at the NYTimes thought when they were landed with the opportunity to print U.S. government secrets, what they did, and how they proceeded, given the extraordinary circumstances: two wars, an unstable (possibly unhinged) source, and the inflammatory nature of the documents themselves.

In addition, the appendix includes an astonishing wealth of information: there are hundreds of diplomatic cables, and also (at least) 2 leaked videos (one of a U.S. helicopter firing on a crowd and one of a helicopter firing on a building). I mostly read this ebook on my Nook, but it's worth watching the videos on your computer.

Engrossing commentary + a wealth of reference material = a winner.

Highly recommended to anyone who is interested in how transparency works in this day and age.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By notjbg
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
this is a great compilation of articles published by the times about Wikileaks including a full profile on Julian Assange. I see this book being more useful later on in a few years when it'll be harder to remember all this
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I confess I'm still reading this, but this is a great overview of all of the angles of this case. It addresses (but of of course can't really resolve) all of the issues of concern, such as transparency vs. security, the motivations of Assange, the methods of Wikileaks vs. the papers who published excerpts (generally, the papers were very thorough in attempting to disguise and protect sources; they brought in consultants and carefully reviewed the documents). It also summarizes gleanings from the documents that were very interesting. (Especially since one isn't likely to go reading several thousand documents)

Needless to say, Assange comes out looking like a pretty serious jerk (I originally was on his side and assumed the sex crime charges were a smear campaign, but even his defense lawyer admits his wrongdoing). Especially when he claims he didn't have time to delete names of sources who might be endangered, including US military personnel and Afghan citizens (as if there is no such thing as "Find and Replace" which you can get out of any Microsoft Word application and takes all of about 2 minutes to use. A superhacker like Assange surely would be aware of a tool that is used by the average data entry worker. I believe he willfully exposed people to danger out of some misguided sense of 'justice'. ) So he comes off as reckless, narcissistic and just vengeful in an indiscriminate way. My opinion of him was seriously changed by the short chapter on him.

Also, though I object to the treatment of Bradley Manning, he doesn't come off too well either; he comes off like an axegrinder who wanted to make a name for himself, in addition to having sincere objections to the Iraq war. I don't know if this characterization is fair or not, but it's not terribly flattering.
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