Background Briefing - Monday, November 29, 2010

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Today we will deal with the big story in the news, that is the latest Wikileaks data dump of some 250,000 mostly State Department cables that the Italian Foreign Minister is describing as the 9/11 of world diplomacy. We will get a number of perspectives on the release of this trove of secret information beginning with a career State Department Intelligence official who will assess the damage of the leaks from the perspective of one who kept the government secrets. Joining us is Wayne White, a member of the Iraq Study Group and the former Deputy Director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Middle East desk and a State Department Representative to NATO.

Then offering the perspective of an investigative journalist who has spent his career trying to pry loose secrets from the government, we are joined by Mark Feldstein, a former investigative correspondent for CNN, ABC and other news outlets who now teaches media and public affairs at George Washington University. We will discuss the value of this latest leaked material to the citizen's right to know what their government is up to and the response to the leaks from the mainstream press who have been scooped by an on-the-run former hacker from Australia, who just promised to go after a major American bank early next year.

Then finally we will be joined by Peter Scheer, the Executive Director of The First Amendment Coalition who will examine the impact of the latest Wikileaks on the troubled relationship between the Press and the Government and argue for the enactment of a Federal shield law to protect journalists and their sources from government retribution, something that the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange might find useful since he has made so many powerful enemies both here and abroad.