The promiscuous release of classified information that preceded and accompanied the resignation of Mike Flynn as national security adviser makes it almost quaint to recall a time when the World War II slogan “loose lips sink ships” was taken seriously.
Much has happened to erode standards regarding national secrets. Oddly, those standards seem to have remained intact when it comes to giving sensitive information secretly to an adversary of the United States. The list runs from Benedict Arnold, whose frustrated ambition led him to offer defense plans to the British during the Revolution; to Julius Rosenberg, whose ideology drove him to provide details of atomic-bomb design to the Soviet Union; to Robert Hanssen,Aldrich [sic] Ames and John Walker, who betrayed their country for money and disclosed information that cost the lives of American spies. Whether or not their actions met the legal definition of treason (and only Arnold’s did), they generally are regarded as traitors.
Yet when secrets are released to the public under some claim of principle, outrage is muted to say the least….