It is not only the moral right, but the moral duty of those on the inside of governments or organisations that undertake illegal, subversive or seditious activities to expose the wrongdoings to public view. We must defend and protect such whistleblowers absolutely, for in their conscience rests the warranty of our democracy. However, it is also completely right and proper for any nation to use its network of diplomats and consuls to gather political, military and economic intelligence to the benefit of that nation, within the limits of the law. There is nothing to suggest the information now appearing on Wikileaks exposes anything improper in any way. The US government therefore has a just expectation that its employees, agents and servants will keep it secret. The leaker, the insider, must be prosecuted to the limits of the law.
However, there is a view that the blood of probable leaker, a very junior soldier, will not be enough to assuage the thirst for vengeance, and that the publisher, Assange, will provide a far more satisfactory victim. This view is mistaken.
Once the information is out, it's out. If Wikileaks is guilty then so is every mainstream media outlet in the world that has re-published the information. If Assange is guilty, then so is the BBC. The US government must take this one on the chin. The chance to shut down a valuable platform for legitimate leaks is a temptation to many governments, but it must be resisted. These leaks aren't justified, and should never have happened, but Assange is the wrong target.