Diplomacy, State Dept. Exposed in 250,000+ Wikileaks Cable Dump

Posted on 29 Nov 2010 at 8:44am

More than a quarter of a million diplomatic cables containing messages between the State department and embassies around the world have been released by Wikileaks.org.

The NYT: Manning

Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks posted 220 cables, some redacted to protect diplomatic sources, in the first installment of the archive on its Web site on Sunday.

The disclosure of the cables is sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could 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.”

The White House said the release of what it called “stolen cables” to several publications was a “reckless and dangerous action” and warned that some cables, if released in full, could disrupt American operations abroad and put the work and even lives of confidential sources of American diplomats at risk. The statement noted that reports often include “candid and often incomplete information” whose disclosure could “deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world.”

The NYT has deeper details on a handful of the cables.

Here's a point-by-point guide from the BBC.

Ben Smith notes that the leaks went simultaneously to four European papers and the NYT:

The Times, Le Monde, and The Guardian led with the fact of the leaks and broke the details into separate stories, with the Times, El Pais, and the Guardian placing particular emphasis (at least at this hour) on the revelation that Secretary Clinton instructed diplomats to spy. Like The Guardian, Der Spiegel saw a "disaster" for American foreign policy, but also was quite excited about the German angle: Which politician said what to the American ambassador.

And El Pais was alone in taking something of a grand unified theory — and WikiLeaks' own take – from the release, in its deck: "The cables…reveal espionage, secret maneuvering, and corruption."

Gay private Bradley Manning remains the prime suspect in the Wikileaks data dump, which was allegedly transferred on CDs labeled "Lady Gaga":

"According to a computer chat log published in June by Wired News, soldier Bradley Manning bragged to Adrian Lamo, the hacker who turned him in, that he was going to unleash 'worldwide anarchy in CSV [comma separated value] format.' 'Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,' Manning said. 'Everywhere there's a US post, there's a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed.' Manning, 22, has been in solitary confinement for the past seven months."

More on Manning's troubled gay past here.

Check out a report on the release of the cables from Al Jazeera, AFTER THE JUMP



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