US warns of likely harm from WikiLeaks' pending release of sensitive diplomatic material
by Lolita C. Baldor and Matthew Lee via gan - Associated Press Wednesday, Nov 24 2010, 5:52pm
mass media /
The War between WikiLeaks (Truth) and Washington (Lies) Continues
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Wednesday it has alerted Congress and begun notifying foreign governments that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage U.S. relations with friends and allies across the globe.
"These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. "They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world."
In anticipation of the posting of the leaked diplomatic cables by the self-styled whistle-blower website, U.S. diplomatic outposts around the world have begun notifying other governments that it may happen within days, Crowley told reporters.
The release is expected this weekend, although WikiLeaks has not been specific about the timing.
Crowley said the State Department "has known all along" that WikiLeaks possesses classified State Department documents. He said it was not possible, however, to predict with precision the impact of their release because the State Department does not know which files will be released.
"We wish this would not happen, but we are obviously prepared for the possibility that it will," he added.
In two previous releases of leaked secret U.S. government documents, in July and October, WikiLeaks provided them in advance to the New York Times, the Guardian newspaper in London and the German magazine Der Spiegel on condition that they publish their stories simultaneously.
The first leak contained thousands of military field reports on the war in Afghanistan; the second was a similar but larger file on the Iraq war.
No one has been charged with providing the documents to WikiLeaks, but a person of interest in the Pentagon's investigation is Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was an intelligence analyst in Iraq when he was arrested by U.S. authorities in early June and jailed in Kuwait. On July 29 he was transferred to a brig at Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia.
Diplomatic cables are internal documents that would include a range of secret communications between U.S. diplomatic outposts and State Department headquarters in Washington.
The revelations they contain are likely to range from the mundane, in the case of routine reporting on meetings between U.S. and foreign government officials, to the explosive, in the case of candid assessments of foreign officials or the exposure of pressure tactics used by U.S. diplomats.
One concern, for example, is that the documents may reveal the kinds of pressure the Obama administration has put on various countries to accept the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been cleared for release but are unwelcome in their home countries.
State Department officials said privately there was concern, too, that details about certain sensitive programs could be exposed. These might include details about surveillance at U.S. diplomatic compounds abroad.
A Pentagon spokesman, Marine Col. David Lapan, said the Pentagon also has notified congressional committees of an expected WikiLeaks release. He said the files are believed to be State Department documents, but they could contain information about military tactics or reveal the identities of sources.
A statement on WikiLeaks Twitter site Wednesday said "the Pentagon is hyperventilating again over fears of being held to account."
The group bills itself as a website devoted to reforming governments worldwide by exposing their secrets, and its motto on its Twitter site is "We open governments."
Another recent posting said: "The coming months will see a new world, where global history is redefined."
© 2010 The Associated Press
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U.S. warns Ottawa about fallout from pending WikiLeaks release
by staff report via fleet - The Globe and Mail Thursday, Nov 25 2010, 5:49pm
The U.S. government has notified Ottawa that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage American relations with allies around the world.
U.S. officials say the documents may contain accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians as well as activities that could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings.
U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson phoned Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon to inform him of the matter, a foreign affairs spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Melissa Lantsman said the Canadian embassy in Washington is “currently engaging” with the U.S. State Department on this matter.
“We are not privy to the full contents of documents which may be leaked,” Ms. Lantsman said in an e-mail to The Canadian Press.
A State Department spokesman said Wednesday the release of confidential communications about foreign governments probably will erode trust in the United States as a diplomatic partner.
“These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.”
U.S. diplomatic outposts around the world have begun notifying other governments that WikiLeaks, a group that bills itself as a website devoted to reforming governments worldwide by exposing their secrets, may release these documents in the next few days.
Many of the cables are believed to date from the start of U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, meaning that the White House will not be able to distance itself from any disclosures.
One concern, for example, is that the documents may reveal the kinds of pressure the U.S. administration has put on various countries to accept the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been cleared for release but are unwelcome in their home countries.
Canadian detainee Omar Khadr was the subject of discussions last month between Cannon and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Canada has long resisted repatriating Mr. Khadr, the only western detainee remaining at Guantanamo Bay, despite pressure from both American and Canada's federal courts. That position is thought to have caused tensions between the two countries.
The Toronto-born Mr. Khadr pleaded guilty last month to five war crimes, including the murder of a U.S. soldier during a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002.
On Oct. 31, Mr. Khadr was sentenced to eight years in prison. According to a pre-trial deal, the 24-year-old man will serve one more year in U.S. custody, and after that he can apply to transfer to Canada to serve out the balance of his sentence under Canadian terms.
It remains to be seen if diplomatic cables between Ottawa and Washington regarding Mr. Khadr, the Canadian mission in Afghanistan or other bilateral matters will be among the documents expected to be released this weekend.
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