No job if you link to WikiLeaks, warns Columbia

From The Arabist comes yet another warning of the career dangers of a fondness for WikiLeaks in the form of an email sent to students of their School of International and Public Affairs:

From: “Office of Career Services” <>Date: November 30, 2010 15:26:53 ESTTo:

Hi students,

We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department.  He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

Office of Career Services

Hmmm. Give the previous post about the warning sent to Social Security Administration employees, those of a suspicious mindset might see a pattern forming. . .

60 responses to “No job if you link to WikiLeaks, warns Columbia

  1. Censorship of, by, and for the people? How absurd!

  2. That’s completely disgusting. The days of universities-as-havens-of-free-speech are apparently dead and buried. Thanks for posting this.

  3. More than disgusting, it’s just RIDICOLOUS…

  4. I would suggest that the students conduct research on the leaked documents and refrain from applying for positions with governments that support efforts to curb academic freedom.

  5. Digital McCarthyism as Wikileaks said

  6. This is just crazy. I feel like this country is on a downward spiral.

  7. Eldon suggests that people use pseudonyms and apply for jobs as usual.

    When students are in a position where they find that they are part of the problem, by keeping information secret and in doing so they support illicit, immoral or illegal activities by their employer (i.e. US Govt., Inc. 🙂 ), they might consider – of their own free will of course – leaking the relevant information to Wikileaks.



  8. no hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver

  9. Conspiracy2Riot

    I wonder what next weeks banned reading/conversation material for the youth, soldiers and current Gov’t employees might be…

  10. Haha…its on! it was the DNS attacks first, then paypal and now this..:D interesting reactions….

  11. This is pathetic.

    Everyone should link to it. They are not going to refuse you a job because you linked wikileaks. In a few years everyone will forget about this. They are just trying to stop the spread of information via scare tactics.

    • There’s NO WAY we, the people, are allowing this ‘incidents’ to be forgotten. Time for truth. I’m not gonna allow the Big Brother watch me anymore. Let us all watch HIM, instead. People have the power.

  12. This just proves how powerful the social media is… Government wanna stop it bann internet! Rolf

  13. It is difficult to appease everyone, in the case of wikileaks, if it is indeed real, as I am still trying to figure that one out, linking to it, does not imply that you yourself support it, or believe in it.

    It is sort of like linking to WWF (wrestling) and then having an employer threaten your job because you support violence.

    Discussing something that is already on the table, does not immediately affiliate you with any specific belief system, however your opinion could, so I think the memo is a little fascist.

    I don’t condone wikileaks, I haven’t even read int the documents, nor do I really know what they are about, nor do I really care, but telling someone they can’t link to something is a serious problem.

  14. Thank you wikileaks, we need you to open our eyes. Please, don’t give up, keep on fight!

  15. Pingback: Macarthismo digital contra Wikileaks « Periodista en Babia 2.0

  16. Jajajaja, this is just crazy! Wtf is going on in the US?! Banned sites, students censored, where is the freedom of speech?

    • Frances in California

      Dear Damian: the same thing happened 60 years ago. Senator McCarthy got rich and famous with trash like this; I know because blood-kin was blacklisted then. Eventually, McCarthy slinked away in disgrace, but AFTER the damage had been done. 40 years ago they tried to get Daniel Ellsberg in beaucoup trouble for telling the truth about Vietnam; only Nixon’s all-encompassing badness saved Ellsberg. Can we on the ‘net be the “Save” this time? We must also instill defense of the truth in our grandchildren for the next go-round.

  17. They must be crazy. It is just so unfair if they do this. The studenst can sue this admin. How they can dare to do this, how?? then we all journalist never ever find a job somewhere on the earth ha? This is just so so crazy.

  18. amerikans need to face the reality that their government is run by corrupt, stupid pigs — all about 70-years-old.

  19. I think this is scaremongering. Especially if you are a student at SIPA, ignoring WikiLeaks shows nothing but that you are not good at your job.
    No government agency in it’s right mind will not employ a candidate who is highly qualified and political reliable otherwise just because he tweeted the “Caucasus Wedding” cable.

  20. USA : freedom of speech country… Fat and paranoid people government closes the student’s dormitories…

  21. This just makes the US look ridiculous. The more you try to prevent people from reading this stuff the more they are going to want to read it. It’s out, we have to deal with it.

  22. Does anybody know the court trial that proves what Wikileaks has done is illegal? So which reasons are there to be banned by Amazon and PayPal? How funny would it be to see that someone files a lawsuit against all these censors. Isn’t that some kind of vigilantism?

  23. derweisealtemönch

    Reading this from Germany, there are interesting parallels to forbidden Radio listening in the 30ies/40ies. Of course, this was not democracy, but fascist dictatorship. However, if you were caught listening to BBC Radio in Germany, thus receiving “illegal” information, or if you talked about what you had heard on BBC (eg. “the war is already lost”) – you could go to prison, or worse. Fascinating, the US was always much more liberal than Germany when it came to free speech. What happened to the country of Mario Savio?!

    • By the time of Mario Savio, his country had imported the people who forbade so much radio in Germany, to continue their common fight against the International Communist Conspiracy. Look up “Project Paperclip” if you think I’m kidding.

  24. something stinks in America – the US Government – ‘do what we say, not what we do’!

    • Frances in California

      james, dear, it’s not the government; it’s the Criminal Oligarchy holding the leashes of the government. ‘Time for us, WE THE PEOPLE to take it away from the Criminal Oligarchy’s lap dogs.

  25. scholars margin

    There’s a whole laundry list of bans and threats. Several are listed here, along with an analysis of the government’s explanations:

  26. Wikileaks online at

  27. Pingback: Wikileaks News - Page 2

  28. Pingback: Wikileaks, ένα video για τα πρακτικά και μερικές απόψεις…

  29. Pingback: Cyber attack forces Wikileaks to change web address

  30. Hey, now we’re just like China!

  31. Why is this surprising, infuriating, or ridiculous? If you want to work for the federal government, you have to play by their rules. The internet isn’t some kiddy playground where anything goes, where you have to cry about anyone trying to put an end to your fun.

    When it is a crime for any American citizen to access Wikileaks, then we have a real problem.

    • Yeah, like the sheikh and the camel.

      This much is okay, but more would be a problem. And then the camel sleeps in the tent and the sheikh is out.

    • Frances in California

      David, I don’t think people read all the way thru your post. Yes, indeed, the crime is not reading the truth – the crime is what Brad Manning blew the whistle on.

  32. Ha,

    I haven’t seen anything from these documents that should of been classified.

    The government didn’t want this information released anymore than they wanted the bailed out banks revealed because they are breaking laws and violating the constitution.

    We now all have an eye into the workings of the UN and how we are being represented across the world.

    Now we can see why portions of the world despise us.

    Look at how government conducts itself.

  33. I think the question to ask is who would want to work in an organization so thoroughly discredited and openly repressive. If this is what its like when you’re a kid and have not even yet considered applying with them, what would it be like when they control your paycheck?

  34. Do you know that this is legit? I don’t think it is. I can’t imagine that Career Services would begin a note with “Hi.” I don’t think they would be so ungrammatical, either.

    • Yes, Columbia has confirmed the email.

      For example, here.

    • Frances in California

      Dear sandi wisenberg: Career Services has probably long been taken over by that cheer-leader-y, “Hi” sort of person; blame management – they wanted someone (someone Rovian) to intimidate the workforce – this probably is for current people, not applicants – so they got someone to, um, well, fling some sh*t.

  35. Obviously the documents in question have been declassified de facto. Therefore, it has become obsolete to handle them confidentially.
    As a result the consideration that, as stated by the discussed Columbia email, “engaging in these activities” (especially providing links to cables on the WikiLeaks site, copies of cables provided on the WikiLeaks site or by another source such as The Guardian etc, or participating in discussions about WikiLeaks) could “call into question your ability to deal with confidential information” obviously becomes obsolete too.
    Since there is nothing confidential about the published cables anymore, it’s rather a question of loyalty than a question of capability the “SIPA alumnus” is referring to.
    Of course, whoever wishes to work for the government should proof herself or himself loyal to the government. Ignoring WikiLeaks as demanded by the “SIPA alumnus” resembels merely a symbolic act, though, showing loyalty to the United States and the government. Yet, such an act of loyalty cannot possibly revert the factual declassification of the materials.
    There is, as said, nothing confidential about the cables anymore once they have entered the public domain, which they have entered. Except for a theoretical de iure classification status remaining valid. So, correctly the “SIPA alumnus” would refer to legal issues and not abilities of handling classified documents. Since the documents in question have doubtlessly entered the public domain and because they have to be considered public now, there cannot possibly be any legal issue with quoting them or referring to them either in word or by URL link. The de iure classification status of the leaked and published documents is, de facto and de iure, nil, because the de facto status absorbs the de iure status in a manner we seldom meet.
    Insisting that the classified documents that have reached public grounds are still to be considered classified is pretty bloody minded.

  36. ConcernedSpain

    The US Govt´s true face is finally coming to light, though this is just a very small spotlight on this truly evil empire.

  37. This is unfortunately good advice for these students if they have ambitions to work for the Federal govt.–especially if the Repubs return to power– but they can of course access Wikileaks under other names or anonymously. Facebook & etc. are always dangerous places to put any material that might someday displease a potential employer, that is just a fact of life these days.

    • Stan, this is happening under a “democrat” sun, just lilke the war in Afghanistan, bank and big auto bailouts and so on. Democrats and RepublicanN they’re one and the same and nothing will change for the better if they stay the only game in town. Two dogs in the same pack bringing down sheep, they’ll fight each other after the kill but work together making it.

  38. Students who do not access wiki-leaks or look, read and comment on its documents will probably feel out of this world. It is the issue of the day, we all want to be in the loop. It will also remain an important issue for the next few years.
    How does accessing it make you less likely to deal with confidential information?

  39. America has become a dictatorship under the guise of democracy under the guise of capatilism. Multi national business controls the American governments. America never ever do anything unless they can make money out of it. America even make money out of wars.
    They think the worlds population are their citizens but we, the worlds population do not have a vote in the American elections. Every dicision the American government makes affects the entire world.
    Now they are trying to tell us that an Australian citizen is commiting treason against the US. He has broken no laws. He is not a US citizen. US politicians are publically demanding he be assinated. That is also illegal. Any politician who advicates this just show that they support dictatorship! If that is how America want it, then we all have the right to vote in their elections.
    80% of Australians support wikileaks. Our Prime minister had better stop supporting the US in this or she will lose government. We in Australia are sick and tired of the US and it’s policies.

  40. The phrase “you’re either with us, or against us” and similar variations are used to depict situations as being polarized and to force witnesses and bystanders to become allies or lose favor. The implied consequence of not joining the team effort is to be deemed an enemy……. wikipedia

  41. Where’s the illogic? If you want a job working with sensitive or classified documents, should you advertise the idea that you are okay with the concept of “leaking” them?

  42. quote: “White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs suggested in somewhat Orwellian fashion that “such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.”

    indeed, this is pure Orwell’s 1984 (read it while it’s not prohibited!)
    it’s all about saying black is white.

    and what gibbs had said is basically “you shouldn’t know that smoking kills, because it puts smoking itself at risk!”

  43. see wrote: and what gibbs had said is basically “you shouldn’t know that smoking kills, because it puts smoking itself at risk!”

    Excellent analogy.

  44. This article is a nice job. Well done.

  45. LOL Free speech, down the toilet you go.

  46. nice job, like this article:)

  47. Pingback: Linking to WikiLeaks Could Cost You a Job, Universities Warn Students |

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