"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels

WikiLeaks on Twitter said they released the documents to El Pais, Le Monde, Speigel, Guardian & NYT. Some websites are going after the NY Times but in this instance if they didn't release the information, foreign papers would have gone ahead without them. Looks like they worked together to release the information at the same time.  We believe the NY Times made a smart move to get the information out here in the States and not be filtered through foreign newspapers. Most of the documents released cover the last three years although a few are said to go back much earlier.

What a coincidence in that forty years ago Daniel Ellsberg who was a military analyst released the "Pentagon Papers" which sent shock waves through the military community and the White House.  We didn't believe those should have been released as he took an oath to never divulge security.  He broke that oath because he was part of the anti-war crowd who would do anything possible to embarrass the Government including breaking the law.
In late 1969 - with the assistance of his former RAND Corporation colleague, Anthony Russo — Ellsberg secretly made several sets of photocopies of the classified documents to which he had access; these later became known as the Pentagon Papers. As an editor of the New York Times was to write much later, these documents "demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance". They revealed that the government had knowledge, early on, that the war would not likely be won, and that continuing the war would lead to many times more casualties than was ever admitted publicly. Further, the papers showed the government had lied to Congress and the public. (Wikipedia)
There is no excuse for someone getting these State Department documents and releasing them or the earlier documents on Afghanistan this summer or the "Pentagon Papers" all of which were released for some one's agenda with no thought to the harm it might cause. It is troubling that security can be broken that easily at the State Department  to allow access to documents that were classified for a reason. If this group, Wiki Leaks, founded by Julian Assange who is also their spokesman, didn't have someone on the inside at the State Department, would be shocked. We find it hard to believe that the person arrested for the original leak of documents from Afghanistan, Bradley Manning, US Army intelligence analyst who is being court martialed, would have access to the State Department documents.

The fact that this correspondence has been leaked doesn't speak well of the Department of State.  Cannot believe over the years what people have put in correspondence, but then most figured the documents were classified and would not be released. We agree with Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) that the greatest harm is the loss of trust by governments dealing with the United States. How many countries trust us anyway after the last few years with the Obama Administration? One thing the documents do show is that Obama was not interesting in furthering relationships with Europe but preferred to work with the Far East which should send chills up your spine.

"I think the greatest harm ... is the loss of trust that other governments will have in dealing with the United States of America," Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told "Good Morning America" today. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange "is putting into danger our foreign policy and perhaps the lives of certain Americans around the world." (ABC News
Agree 100% with Senators Lyndsey Graham (R-SC) and Clare McKaskill (D-MO) that the leakers of these documents should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Releasing classified documents is against the law, but will the Holder Department of Justice step in to help. Frankly the DOJ couldn't even win a case in civilian court against a terrorist so we have little faith they will do anything now.

Having worked around classified, find it so hard to believe that any organization would be so careless about their security. Think it is time to clean out the State Department and start over. For years leaks have been happening from the State Department against our own Department of Defense (DoD) as they did their power plays when they sensed that the DoD and National Security Advisor were getting more power.

The arrogance shown by many of our Secretaries of State has been mind boggling over the years. The people get that appointment and it goes to their head in most instances. Maybe if the Secretary of State would stay home more and concentrate on making the State Department a functional organization, we would be better off. The current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has logged countless miles on AF planes traveling around the world and what is there to show for all the travel? She doesn't even travel with the President on his foreign trips which is strange. Career diplomats who are firmly entrenched in the State Department hierarchy since the Carter years have not helped the perception of arrogance and power plays out of this group.

Leaking the material is deplorable," Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, a Republican, told Fox News. "The people at WikiLeaks could have blood on their hands ... People who do this are low on the food chain as far as I'm concerned. If you can prosecute them, let's try."

His Democratic colleague Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri agreed with him and said she hoped "we can find out where this is coming from and go after them with the force of law". She added that "the people who do these document leaks need to do a gut check about their patriotism".

Representative Peter King of New York, a life-long supporter of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, called on Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to designate WikiLeaks a "Foreign Terrorist Organisation" outlawed in the US.

"WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States. I strongly urge you to work within the Administration to use every offensive capability of the U.S. government to prevent further damaging releases by WikiLeaks," he said in a statement.

The Pentagon blasted WikiLeaks for its "reckless" dump of classified documents and said it was taking steps to bolster security of classified U.S. military networks. (London Telegraph
When reading the article from the NY Times, we are aghast at some of what was written. Anyone with an ounce of brains should know not to put some of these comments down on paper. These cables/messages speak poorly of the leadership at the State Department and in the Administration. Would fire Hillary Clinton in a heartbeat after this release of documents. Always thought she was over her head at the State Department and this proves that fact. We don't believe that Obama has the nerve to fire her over these leaks because he is afraid she will run against him for President.

Wonder who is going to be asked to fall on their sword for this failure of security?

Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels
Published: November 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

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 cables, a huge sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and some 270 embassies and consulates, amount to a secret chronicle of the United States’ relations with the world in an age of war and terrorism. Among their revelations, to be detailed in The Times in coming days:

¶ A dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel: Since 2007, the United States has mounted a highly secret effort, so far unsuccessful, to remove from a Pakistani research reactor highly enriched uranium that American officials fear could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device. In May 2009, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts because, as a Pakistani official said, “if the local media got word of the fuel removal, ‘they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,’ he argued.”

¶ Thinking about an eventual collapse of North Korea: American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North’s economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the American ambassador to Seoul. She told Washington in February that South Korean officials believe that the right business deals would “help salve” China’s “concerns about living with a reunified Korea” that is in a “benign alliance” with the United States.

¶ Bargaining to empty the Guantánamo Bay prison: When American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in Chinese Muslim detainees, cables from diplomats recounted. The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”

¶ Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government: When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered that he was carrying $52 million in cash. With wry understatement, a cable from the American Embassy in Kabul called the money “a significant amount” that the official, Ahmed Zia Massoud, “was ultimately allowed to keep without revealing the money’s origin or destination.” (Mr. Massoud denies taking any money out of Afghanistan.)

¶ A global computer hacking effort: China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported. The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.

¶ Mixed records against terrorism: Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda, and the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a generous host to the American military for years, was the “worst in the region” in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable last December. Qatar’s security service was “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals,” the cable said.
Excerpt: Read More at NY Times

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