Hillary Clinton attacks release of US embassy cables
Secretary of state leads Obama administration’s reaction to WikiLeaks release, saying it attacks fabric of responsible government
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, today gave the administration’s first public reaction to the leaking of thousands of confidential diplomatic documents, describing it as an attack not only on the US but the international community.
In a lengthy statement expressing US regret over the leaks that have thrown the diplomatic world into disarray and created widespread embarrassment for Washington, Clinton said they put at risk the lives of many people in oppressive societies who had spoken to American diplomats. …
While she said she would not comment directly on the cables or their substance, she said that the government would take “aggressive steps” to hold responsible those who “stole” them.
Other US politicians went much further with their rhetoric:
Congress Lashes Out at Wikileaks, Senators Say Leakers May Have “Blood on their Hands”
Congressmen on both sides of the aisle are condemning the massive leak of secret U.S. documents via the website Wikileaks as a reckless act that endangers American lives.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) called the release of more than 250,000 classified State Department documents a “reckless action which jeopardizes lives by exposing raw, contemporaneous intelligence.” …
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called the leak “nothing less than an attack on the national security of the United States.”
“By disseminating these materials, Wikileaks is putting at risk the lives and the freedom of countless Americans and non-Americans around the world,” he said in a statement. “It is an outrageous, reckless, and despicable action that will undermine the ability of our government and our partners to keep our people safe and to work together to defend our vital interests. Let there be no doubt: the individuals responsible are going to have blood on their hands.”
Lurking amongst this angry and overblown tough talk an important issue has been raised. Does the leak put lives at risk? It’s an easy claim to make, and impossible to disprove, let’s assume for the sake of argument that it is true. But it is also fair to as the matching question. Does American foreign policy conducted in secret put lives at risk? Of course it does. Of recent note of course, is the illegal, failed, shameful war on Iraq, during which at least 100,000 Iraqis have been killed.
I’m no “anti-American” hater of the US. I’ve lived there, I’ve visited several times, I appreciate the strengths of America. But neither am I a blind supporter. I think that the world needs to have a very clear and objective view of the motivations and actions of the world’s most dangerous military superpower. And from that objective view I think it is both hypocritical and foolish of any American politician to accuse any other organisation of “blood on their hands”.
Perhaps the leaked cables will put lives at risk. But I believe that many more lives would be made safe if the actions and attitudes of our governments, and the “intelligence” that they work with, were more open to the people. That is what Wikileaks, and the whistle blowers who pass on information to them, are trying to achieve, and I support them.