The sad fact about the Wikileaks saga is that it will not change anything. Watergate changed nothing about the nature of whistleblowing and neither did it prevent those in the highest office from committing crimes and misdemeanors. Only the means of dissemination have changed. Once it was Telephone boxes that inevitably stank of stale piss, now it is internet cafes, ditto. Leaks depend on leakers; disgruntled insiders.
There is an element of shooting the messenger when it comes to Wikileaks. Lest we be distracted by this, it is as well to ask how damaging the leaked information is, and to whom. There are secrets and there are lies. There may be a case for witholding secrets, but there is no case for witholding lies. Iraq was is an exemplar of the difference between what the public was fed and what really went on. It too spawned revenge attacks on whistleblowers which came from the highest official sources, such as the Valerie Plame affair.
As far as I can tell, very little of what has been released on Wikileaks could be considered to be endangering national security. I have read through quite a lot of it and really it comes as no surprise to find that Putin is considered a bandit in a Mafia state, or that the Americans thought Gordon Brown was a "disaster". Diplomatic communications are of course ment to be confidential, but diplomats don't generally concern themselves with real secrets, and if they do, these are encrypted beyond the wit of a bedroom hacker. They leave that to the spooks and feel it is not part of their remit. What is left appears to be gossip and chaff and hunches; the mood music of diplomacy and that is what the Wikileaks has published.
What it tells us is that diplomats try and assess background data that will ease political negotiations and perhaps stack the deck slightly in our favour. What they cannot do is hand their Minister a Royal Flush.
On balance I think that Wikileaks has merely been an embarrassment. It will not change the game and it will not stop world leaders deceiving us. All it does is reveal a few generalised home truths and we are entitled to that, aren't we?