Clinton: WikiLeaks ‘Attack’ Against US NOT ‘Laudable’ or ‘Brave’

November 29, 2010

(ChattahBox Political News)—-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, held a news conference today to respond to the bombshell release of a quarter-million stolen diplomatic communications that have been generating worldwide attention. She strongly condemned WikiLeaks’ dump of stolen confidential computer files, as an “attack on America’s foreign policy interests,” as well as “an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.” Clinton refused to discuss the particulars of the leaked material, but she defended the candid assessments and the work of U.S. diplomats, as the advancement of a “robust foreign policy,” that’s necessary “in solving the most complex challenges of our time…” And she derided WikiLeaks for its cowardly release of stolen documents that endanger the lives of innocent people. This is not a case of a whistleblower “exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds,” said Clinton.

Clinton said she was certain that the United States would withstand the unwanted scrutiny. “I am confident that the partnerships that the Obama Administration has worked so hard to build will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority – and we are proud of the progress that they have helped achieve – and they will remain at the center of our efforts,” she said.

The Secretary of State acknowledged that some embarrassment may have occurred from the release of candid assessments that were never intended to be made public. And she also made clear that diplomatic cables do not determine our foreign policy.

“I will not comment on or confirm what are alleged to be stolen State Department cables. But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations. I want to make clear that our official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but here in Washington. Our policy is a matter of public record, as reflected in our statements and our actions around the world,” said Clinton.

Clinton added that the Obama administration is taking “aggressive steps” to hold the leakers accountable and changes are being made to ensure “this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again.”

And to those who defend WikiLeaks and PFC Bradley Manning, the soldier charged with stealing the files, for providing transparency, Clinton says the leak of private diplomatic cables serves no purpose, other than to cause havoc and endanger lives.

“Now, I am aware that some may mistakenly applaud those responsible, so I want to set the record straight: There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends. There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases.”

On a lighter note, while responding to a reporter’s questions, asking if she was “embarrassed” by the leaks, she responded that our allies have their own very candid assessments of American officials.

“I can tell you that in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, “Well, don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.” (Laughter.) So I think that this is well understood in the diplomatic community as part of the give-and-take. And I would hope that we will be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together on behalf of our common goals.”

Leaked National Humint Collection Directives signed by Clinton and her predecessor Condoleezza Rice directing diplomats to essentially spy on foreign officials, including UN officials, is receiving lots of media attention today. The directive orders diplomats to gather “biometric” information, such as iris scans, DNA samples and fingerprints.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley responded that “Diplomats for all nations do the same thing.”

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