The latest round of WikiLeaks disclosures has been roundly criticized by U.S. officials. The leaked material, consisting of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, some of which were classified, portrayed what The Christian Science Monitor called the “rough workings of diplomacy.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who The Washington Post reports is working damage control for the Obama administration, delivered one of the strongest condemnations against the leaks.
“Let’s be clear: This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests,” Clinton said Monday as reported in The Post. “It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.”
The cables show the inner workings of the U.S. diplomatic process based on missives emanating from embassies around the world, which often contain unflattering assessments of other world leaders.
Before the document dump began Sunday, American diplomats had been working overtime, calling and meeting with foreign leaders to soften the blow.
While the shock and outrage over the leaks in the United States has been bipartisan, it has also raised the ire of a well-known U.S. antagonist: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Although, he questions whether they are really “leaks,” saying he believes they are orchestrated, methodical attempts by the United States to make Iran look bad.
Ahmadinejad’s opposition likely has something to do with the unfavorable opinions of him expressed by other Middle Eastern and Arab leaders as detailed in the cables.
In the cables, the Saudi ambassador quotes the Saudi king as advising the United States to “cut off the head of the snake,” in terms of dealing with Ahmadinejad and his attempts to build a nuclear weapons program.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, called on the Obama administration to “use all legal means” to shut down the WikiLeaks site.
But the government may not have to act at all, as a volley of cyber attacks from so-called patriotic hackers and unknown others have dismantled the site, according to WikiLeaks’ Twitter page.
Aside from shutting down the site, The Washington Post reports the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle-blower site, and others involved in the leaking.
But it likely won’t be an open-and-shut case because of the thorny issues surrounding the 1917 Espionage Act and the fact that whatever country Assange is holed up in would first have to extradite him, The Post reports.