The dominant response to the release of thousands of classified documents on the war on Afghanistan seems to be "nothing new there." As President Obama put it today,
"While I’m concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations, the fact is these documents don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate on Afghanistan; indeed, they point to the same challenges that led me to conduct an extensive review of our policy last fall."
Does this mean that the explosive growth in the classification of government documents is a waste of time? That all of these secret documents don't really contain any secrets? I doubt that is what is being suggested here, but it is a pretty logical inference.
It's possible that leaks like this could create pressure for more transparency in the the classification and release of government documents. If the authorities worry that their classified documents have a good chance of being leaked, they may decide to classify fewer pieces of information or to keep such information classified for a far shorter period of time. After all, unclasssified documents are rarely news. If the dominant interpretation of these files is correct--that they tell us nothing we did not already know--then the only reason they are newsworthy is because someone labelled them secret. It would be a good thing is this was the response, but if the past is any guide it's more likely to lead to more classification rather than less..