The WikiLeaks Release: Where Are the Grown Ups?

11/30/2010 11:23 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It has not been proven exactly who leaked volumes of confidential US diplomatic material from the State Department to WikiLeaks, which was then picked up by major newspapers world wide. But to call the printing and distribution of this material reckless is a vast understatement.

While a disgruntled employee can be capable of a myriad of acts that put all in harm's way, for the supposedly reputable press to print such potentially damaging materials is beyond imaginable. What were they thinking? I think the answer is simple: They are struggling for readership, and they were not thinking, not rationally or maturely at any rate.

This careless and thoughtless behavior demonstrates a reality that must be understood. In any leadership position, from sound parenting to political and corporate positions, a combination of maturity and common sense, known as emotional or psychological intelligence, is vital. To be highly intelligent does not mean that one has such traits. One of the essential components of this quality of being is the ability to think ahead and know whether one's acts put others in danger.

When it is proven what State Department official shared a quarter-million confidential US diplomatic cables, my bet is that he (if indeed it is correct that it is a he) feels belittled and unrecognized in his own world, and is determined to get back at those who make him feel that way. Why? To feel important and powerful is usually the motivation leading to such misguided actions. Was he passed over for a position? Did a woman leave him? Is he having ongoing relationship problems? It is usually a stinging sense of failure that motivates such damaging and self centered behavior. While those with emotional maturity and emotional intelligence know well and accept that disappointment is part of life, those without it are capable of the irresponsibility we have witnessed.

But for reputable members of the press, whom millions rely on for reasonable and prudent behavior, in whose world there are supposed checks and balances in decision making, to dignify this impulsive decision by repeating it is beyond terrifying.