(Reuters) - Whistleblower website WikiLeaks released a cache of classified U.S. State Department documents on Sunday that provide candid views of foreign leaders and sensitive information on terrorism and nuclear proliferation.
“These cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world.”
“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.
ROGER CRESSEY, PARTNER AT GOODHARBOR CONSULTING, FORMER U.S. CYBER SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL
“This is pretty devastating. The essence of our foreign policy is our ability to talk straight and honest with our foreign counterparts and to keep those conversations out of the public domain. This massive leak puts that most basic of diplomatic requirements at risk in the future. ...”
“Think of relations with Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan, governments who we need to work with us in defeating al Qaeda. Their performance has been uneven in the past, for a variety of reasons, but this kind of leak will seriously hinder our ability to persuade these governments to support our counterterrorism priorities in the future.”
“Whoever was behind this leak should be shot and I would volunteer to pull the trigger.”
Urged U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to designate WikiLeaks a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
“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.”
SIR CHRISTOPHER MEYER, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES
“This won’t restrain dips’ (diplomats) candor. But people will be looking at the security of electronic communication and archives. Paper would have been impossible to steal in these quantities.”
EMILE HOKAYEM, SENIOR FELLOW, MIDDLE EAST, INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES
“I’m not surprised by the fact that the Gulf is portrayed as a major source of funding extremist groups. It’s clear money goes to extremist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But is there such a thing as an al Qaeda bank account? Probably a decent number of people are still doing it because they think it is a charity.”
PROFESSOR MICHAEL COX, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE THINK TANK
“It’s a great treasure trove for historians and students of international relations. It is a sign that in the information age, it is very difficult to keep anything secret. But as to whether it’s going to cause the kind of seismic collapse of international relations that governments have been talking about, I somehow doubt.
Diplomats have always said rude things about each other in private, and everyone has always known that. Governments have a tendency to try to keep as much information as possible secret or classified, whether it really needs to be or not. The really secret information, I would suggest, is still pretty safe and probably won’t end up on WikiLeaks.