NY Times—Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The anticipated disclosure of the cables is already sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could conceivably strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and American ambassadors around the world have been contacting foreign officials in recent days to alert them to the expected disclosures. A statement from the White House on Sunday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”

“President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal,” the statement said. “By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetGlobalizationMediaScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

Posted November 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse wrote:

I am not entirely convinced of the current administration’s desire to keep secret things secret. If the Administration truly desired to protect classified information, and prevent the damage possible, we’d not be hearing about Wikileaks.  Period.

Sure, there have always been small, strategically timed leaks by many politicians over the years, but not of this scale.  The targets have always been political players, and the damage had been mostly limited to the political sphere.  Here we’re actually damaging international relations and endangering military members.  The administration should be clamping down on this.

So, I’m left with the impression of either complicity or impotence, neither of which give me any confidence in this president or his administration.

November 28, 7:08 pm | [comment link]
2. BlueOntario wrote:

How do you propose re-hiding documents once they’ve been distributed electronically to persons who’s sole aim is to reveal them?

November 28, 7:16 pm | [comment link]
3. John Wilkins wrote:

#1 - I’m not sure what benefit the current administration would have by leaking the information, unless you are in the camp that it is deliberately self-destructive.  If anything, I think there are people who would like to sabotage this administration, and are gleeful that this is happening.  They can’t bear the idea that Obama has been successful in a number of foreign policy fronts.  I’m left with the impression that there are people who deeply want the country, and our president, to be diminished in power.  Both those on the left who want an end to American hegemony, and those on the right who deeply dislike the president.

I think we are also in a very different age.  First of all, wikileaks is possible only because of the ease that electronic communication allows leaking. 

But most of the information was common knowledge.  It probably will show little that is new, but it does add some nuance to the picture, as well as the difficulty in doing modern diplomacy.  I suspect Obama won’t come out looking that bad.

November 28, 8:37 pm | [comment link]
4. Cennydd13 wrote:

Too bad we don’t have Britain’s Official Secrets Act in this country.

November 28, 9:18 pm | [comment link]
5. Branford wrote:

Wikileaks is not a U.S. website or organization, so whether the U.S. government wants us to hear about it or not is not under government control. The first Wikileaks leaks on Iraq and Afghanistan earlier this year came about because a U.S. Army intelligence specialist, Bradley Manning, who was being demoted decided to “get back” at the Army and gave the docs to a journalist (Wikipedia and various news stories). Manning has since been arrested under the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice:

The charges included unauthorized access to Secret Internet Protocol Routers network computers, download of more than 150,000 United States Department of State diplomatic cables, download of a secret PowerPoint presentation, and downloading a classified video of a military operation in Baghdad on July 12, 2007. . .

I’m not sure of Wikileaks source for the State Dept. docs - whether they are from this same doc drop or from others in the State Dept.

November 28, 10:16 pm | [comment link]
6. John316 wrote:

The US general accounting office identified 3,067,000 people cleared to “secret” and above in a 1993 study.  It seems that Private Bradley Manning, now incarcerated, was one of those with clearance and access to the military internet known as Siprnet where govt. agencies store and exchange classified information.

November 29, 3:51 pm | [comment link]
7. Sarah wrote:

RE: “They can’t bear the idea that Obama has been successful in a number of foreign policy fronts.”

HAH HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAH—yeh, that’s it—they’re jealous of his many foreign policy successes.


; > )

On an even happier note, I agree that the wikileaks won’t make Obama look bad.  I for one don’t know what the big deal is in the actual content—so far, absolutely nothing has been “revealed” that we didn’t already know.

November 29, 9:13 pm | [comment link]
8. Cennydd13 wrote:

I served my country in the U.S. Air Force for my entire working career, and from the very first, I was cleared for TOP SECRET.  The consequences of violating that clearance were made crystal clear to me and everyone else with that clearance. 

Private Manning could very well face a trial for espionage and a sentence of Life in a Federal prison, such as Leavenworth, Kansas, if he’s convicted.

I most emphatically do not recommend doing anything which compromises national security; the consequences are severe.

November 29, 9:21 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.

Next entry (above): Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga’s Soul

Previous entry (below): (Guardian) US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomatic crisis

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)