WikiLeaks disclosures involve 3000 cables from Delhi to WashingtonBy Arun Kumar, IANS
Sunday, November 28, 2010
WASHINGTON - Among a cache of a quarter-million State Department cables released by WikiLeaks, 3,038 are from the US embassy in India, but no details were immediately available on the whistleblower website. Other cables pertain to communications from US missions in Islamabad, Colombo and Kathmandu.
India was one of the countries reached out by top US diplomats before the much anticipated release of what the New York
Times described as “an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders.”
“We have reached out to India to warn them about a possible release of documents,” State Department Spokesman P J Crowley said ahead of their publication Sunday, spawning condemnation from the White House and congressional leaders.
The United States had warned WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange that publishing the papers would be illegal and endanger peoples’ lives.
Among the 251,287 cables provided by WikiLeaks to The Times 2,278 cables are from the US mission in Kathmandu, 3,325 from Colombo and 2,220 from Islamabad.
Many are unclassified, and none are marked “top secret,” the government’s most secure communications status. But some 11,000 are classified “secret,” 9,000 are labelled “noforn,” shorthand for material considered too delicate to be shared with any foreign government, and 4,000 are designated both secret and ‘noforn’.
Publishing the documents would jeopardise “our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
Senator John Kerry, Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the disclosure “reckless.”
“This is not an academic exercise about freedom of information and it is not akin to the release of the Pentagon Papers, which involved an analysis aimed at saving American lives and exposing government deception,” Kerry said in a statement.
Peter King, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, on Sunday called on the Obama administration to prosecute Assange.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder King said WikiLeaks has provided “material support to terrorist organizations” by releasing the documents.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)