The United States should establish an information ombudsman in response to whistleblower website Wikileaks, according to a former CIA veteran.
Robert Baer, who spoke at the Security 2010 conference in Sydney today, supported Wikileaks as a valuable institution to hold government to account, but said a "single individual" — founder Julian Assange — should not have power to decide which state secrets are made public.
"They're diplomatic communication secrets [where] someone like me can't decide whether it should remain a secret," Baer said. "Who decides: inspector generals or independent citizens, maybe, but definitely not private citizens."
"Most secrets are bullshit."
Baer said the US could prevent Wikileaks disclosing data that jeopardises national security with an ombusman that disseminates broad information regarding challenges in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
"It could tell us that we are blind in Afghanistan without saying where we are blind."
He said he would not doubt the CIA would execute its legal rights to pursue Assange, although he could not confirm the agency was behind recent sexual assault and rape allegations issued against the Wikileaks founder.
The ex-CIA agent added Assange would be "crazy" to approach the US Government after the website published some of its 900,000 classified Pentagon documents and labelled much of the government's intelligence as "crap".
He told the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday that the Australian Government should question the US Government over the quality of its intelligence.
Robert Baer has published five books and is an intelligence columnist for Time, and remains under CIA non-disclosure agreements for sensitive intelligence. During his time in the CIA, he was assigned to the Middle East where he was part of a campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein.