It's offered by Will Wilkinson, who says that the content of the documents isn't as insubstantial as some are asserting:

For example, drawing on the documents made available by WikiLeaks, the ACLU reports that the Bush administration "pressured Germany not to prosecute CIA officers responsible for the kidnapping, extraordinary rendition and torture of German national Khaled El-Masri", a terrorism suspect dumped in Albania once the CIA determined it had nabbed a nobody. I consider kidnapping and torture serious crimes, and I think it's interesting indeed if the United States government applied pressure to foreign governments to ensure complicity in the cover-up of it agents' abuses. In any case, I don't consider this gossip.

It isn't. In some ways, it is the most important and damning revelation of the entire dump. He proceeds to zoom out:

To get at the value of WikiLeaks, I think it's important to distinguish between the governmentthe temporary, elected authors of national policyand the statethe permanent bureaucratic and military apparatus superficially but not fully controlled by the reigning government. The careerists scattered about the world in America's intelligence agencies, military, and consular offices largely operate behind a veil of secrecy executing policy which is itself largely secret. American citizens mostly have no idea what they are doing, or whether what they are doing is working out well. The actually-existing structure and strategy of the American empire remains a near-total mystery to those who foot the bill and whose children fight its wars. And that is the way the elite of America's unelected permanent state, perhaps the most powerful class of people on Earth, like it.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.