WikiLeaks Makes All Its U.S. Diplomatic Cables Public

Mark Seibel
McClatchy / News Report
Published: Friday 2 September 2011
In its statement, WikiLeaks took credit for helping to spark the Arab Spring with its publication, in partnership with the French newspaper Le Monde, of scathing cables from the U.S. ambassador to Tunisia about the now deposed Tunsian President Zine el Abidin Ben Ali and his family
Article image

The whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks made public its entire cache of pirated State Department cables Thursday night in a torrent of once secret information that is sure to renew debate over the impact of one of the largest security breaches in U.S. history.

After nearly nine months in which the 251,287 cables had been trickling out at a pace that guaranteed there would be WikiLeaks documents still unreleased 10 years from now, the website announced on Twitter that all of the cables had been made public.

"Shining a light on 45 years of U.S. 'diplomacy,' it is time to open the archives forever," WikiLeaks said. The "tweet" included a link to the WikiLeaks website, showing all the cables had been made public.

In a statement emailed to reporters Thursday morning, WikiLeaks had anticipated the release, saying that in recent days it had become well known on the web that a book about WikiLeaks published last February by the British newspaper The Guardian contained the password that would allow anyone to open an encrypted file containing all the information that had been widely circulated on the Internet last year.

"Knowledge of the Guardian disclosure has spread privately over several months but reached critical mass last week," the statement said. WikiLeaks said it would release the remaining files to protect their impact on news events.

"Revolutions and reforms are in danger of being lost as the unpublished cables spread to intelligence contractors and governments before the public," the statement said.

That claim is likely to be challenged in coming days by many who believe WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, have exaggerated their impact on recent events, though the organization will also have its defenders.

In its statement, WikiLeaks took credit for helping to spark the Arab Spring with its publication, in partnership with the French newspaper Le Monde, of scathing cables from the U.S. ambassador to Tunisia about the now deposed Tunsian President Zine el Abidin Ben Ali and his family. It also said its quick publication of cables revealing Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman's ties to the CIA helped scuttle the possibility he would replace deposed President Hosni Mubarak.

But those claims are likely also to be balanced with debate over whether releasing the entire unredacted cache will place at risk innocent people whose names appear in the cables as sources of information for U.S. diplomats.

A search by McClatchy Newspapers of the cables found 1,900 in which U.S. diplomats had flagged the identities of sources with the admonition "strictly protect," though it is unclear how much danger many of those people would face. Among the individuals whose names carried that admonition was the finance minister of Mexico, the CEO of the ConocoPhillips oil company, and the American company Procter & Gamble.

But many others might be at risk of persecution including Shiite Muslim clerics in Sunni Saudi Arabia, religious leaders in Vietnam and businessmen willing to talk to American officials about life in places like Iran.

Despite the seeming suddenness of the release, it had been clear for some time that Assange had grown impatient with the slow pace with which the cables had been dribbling out.

WikiLeaks, in partnership with a small group of U.S. and European news outlets, began making the cables public Nov. 28. Under that arrangement, WikiLeaks would only post cables after the news organizations had read them and removed from them any information that would identify people whose lives publication might endanger.

But that arrangement guaranteed that the release of the cables would be slow, and the number of published cables languished in the low four figures for months.

Assange brought in more media partners, including McClatchy Newspapers, and began partnerships with regional news organizations around the world in hopes of speeding publication. Still, by mid August, fewer than 10 percent of the cables had been made public.

That began to change Aug 19 as WikiLeaks began publishing tens of thousands of cables on its own and encouraging its nearly 1 million followers on Twitter to read them and tweet their findings with the hash tag #wlfind.

Most of those cables were relatively benign unclassified documents, but the sudden release of so many cables — 133,000 additional cables in less than 10 days — raised questions of whether anyone could possibly have had the time to read them carefully and whether they might contain information that would put U.S. diplomats' sources in danger.

Then WikiLeaks released the full file.



Get Email Alerts from NationofChange

Top Stories

11 comments on "WikiLeaks Makes All Its U.S. Diplomatic Cables Public"

ydifwr

mphseason

September 03, 2011 9:04am

So if anyone would know.... Is the young Army soldier sitting in jail over these documents now going to change the charges that the Defence Dept. trumped up to keep this stuff quiet ?

fbuser24

September 02, 2011 4:40pm

. . The truth belongs to the people - not political swine. . . was 9/11 real ?? or proganda ?? I'm sure they burried the truth so deep we the people may never know
. . . I do not subscribe to the "follow the leader of the majority". . . the listen to them theory of they know what they are doing ????
. . .
. .
Cox East Texas
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
"Trust us" has long been the mantra of the Bush administration.

"Just trust us."
Americans (and Congress) trusted -.- “that Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction” -.-, making him a threat to the United States and the world.

"Just trust us."
The -.-“Supreme Court decided that Americans didn't need to know what transpired behind closed doors” -.- ( the same court that appointed George Bush to the “Presidency”)-.- as Vice President Dick Cheney met with industry leaders eight years ago to set out an energy policy.
With gas prices soaring, critics lay blame at the feet of Democrats who regained control of Congress 18 months ago. The Bush team has had eight years to shape policy.

"Just trust us."
After rancorous debate between Congress and the White House, the Patriot Act was extended last year. -.- “Only later did we learn about FBI officials abusing the ability” -.- to act without warrants while investigating American citizens.

"Just trust us."
-.-“legal cover to phone companies that complied with past wiretaps that were not approved” -.- by the secret court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Time after time we hear: "Just trust us."
Time after time we see signals that the trust has not been earned.

"Just trust us."
Has anybody been following the news out of the U.S. State Department?
"Just trust us."
Do “Republican officials really expect the American people to fall for the oldest ploy of all — the one where a child points to a sibling or classmate and cries, "He (or she) did it first!"” defense? Do they really want to hold the Clinton administration up as a model for how they want to act?

"Just trust us."
Judging by recent polls, the public's trust has worn thin. This week's headlines are good evidence of why that is so.
Copyright 2008 The Lufkin Daily News. All rights reserved.
alter one or two words and see how it is actually applied today.....

Traveler123

September 02, 2011 4:38pm

Our diplomats and corporate "leaders" have successfully proved that they are not capable of world leadership. Their wealth compared to the 18,000 children they leave to die of starvation every single day prooves their true stamp. And these people need protection from truth? Truth saves lives. Lies kill.

Cory A. Vincent

September 02, 2011 1:49pm

good work!

Annebonnie

September 02, 2011 12:27pm

Yes, this is a need to know for Americans so too bad if CEOs and diplomats are exposed, had they not been so sneaky and robbing all of us this would have never happened. Tough cookies I say.

Patricia C. Gilbert

September 02, 2011 11:24am

You are right.....we should all thank WikiLeaks for their truth and bravery. We should all get a backbone if it is not too late.

Boris Badenov's picture
Boris Badenov

September 02, 2011 11:22am

So I'm wondering? Are they really all released or is this some kind of plea deal Julian made with the US.

stroker349

September 02, 2011 11:21am

There are times when what some govt agencies are privy too can not be made available to the general public. Now I know you will cry about right to know, open govt., democracy etc--and yet keep passwords for all on your computer. I have a bit of background in some things that deal military intel and believe me, not all secret stuff is about how we torture people and rape women.In fact, note that after this rather long post, we are not given access to the full download of leaks nor sent to a place to view it. I can get access but realize that there are some civilians whose names,mentioned, might be put in harm's way.Ok to scoff at diplomats and CEO's but thee is more to it than those rather limited lists of names.

fbuser11

September 02, 2011 11:06am

I am trying to visualize what kind of information would place deplomats in danger and, given the nefarious state of US foreign policy, why I should care if they are exposed. And as far as corporate representitives being protected diplomatically, I can't see a good reason for that at all.

freebee

September 02, 2011 11:03am

The more we know about what our government is doing in our name, the more have the opportunity to act upon it. Yah for Assange.