Over 250,000 State Department documents, among them secret diplomatic embassy cables from all over the world, have been revealed on Sunday as a result of a WikiLeaks document dump. On the heels of a crisis on the Korean peninsula, a Russian government making demands regarding our nuclear arsenal, a terrorist tried in U.S. a civilian court found guilty on only one count among 150, and an Iranian dictator making threats to the United States and our allies, the latest WikiLeaks document dump serves to confirm that the Obama administration is perceived as weak on handling international affairs.
The Obama administration previously requested of The New York Times that the paper not publish the WikiLeaks text and condemned WikiLeaks for the document release. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told media:
“To be clear, such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government,” he said. “These documents also may include named individuals who in many cases live and work under oppressive regimes and who are trying to create more open and free societies.”
Mr. Gibbs said President Barack Obama wants open and accountable government, but the White House spokesman called the WikiLeaks document reveal “reckless and dangerous.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, told Fox News Sunday, “Leaking the material is deplorable. I agree with the Pentagon’s assessment. The people at WikiLeaks could have blood on their hands.”
“The people who are leaking these documents need to do a gut-check about their patriotism,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, to Fox News.
Congressman Peter King, New York Republican, told CBS Radio on Sunday that the WikiLeaks release is ‘worse than a military attack’ and that Julian Assange, head of the WikiLeaks website, should be prosecuted by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder under the Espionage Act. Mr. King has already written letters to both Mr. Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking for action to be taken against Mr. Assange.
Der Spiegel, an online German media outlet is critical of the Obama administration pointing out that “never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information.”:
Such surprises from the annals of US diplomacy will dominate the headlines in the coming days when the New York Times, London’s Guardian, Paris’ Le Monde, Madrid’sEl Pais and SPIEGEL begin shedding light on the treasure trove of secret documents from the State Department. Included are 243,270 diplomatic cables filed by US embassies to the State Department and 8,017 directives that the State Department sent to its diplomatic outposts around the world. In the coming days, the participating media will show in a series of investigative stories how America seeks to steer the world. The development is no less than a political meltdown for American foreign policy.
Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information — data that can help paint a picture of the foundation upon which US foreign policy is built. Never before has the trust America’s partners have in the country been as badly shaken. Now, their own personal views and policy recommendations have been made public — as have America’s true views of them.
The WikiLeaks website was down at one point early Sunday morning, the AP reported. WikiLeaks claimed on Twitter “under a mass distributed denial of service attack” but promised that Spain’s El Pais, France’s Le Monde, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Britain’s Guardian newspaper and The New York Times “will publish many US embassy cables tonight, even if WikiLeaks goes down.”
Questions remain as to why the WikiLeaks site remains online, to whether Mr. Assange will be prosecuted, or if the Obama administration will ever hold accountable U.S. government officials for not guarding more carefully a ton of sensitive information never meant for the public eye.