Clinton condemns leaks: US diplomats reach out to IndiaBy Arun Kumar, IANS
Monday, November 29, 2010
WASHINGTON - As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned whistleblower website WikiLeaks’ release of a quarter million documents, a senior official said the US has had multiple conversations with officials in India in a damage control exercise.
Clinton Monday branded the leaks as an “attack on international community” saying the illegal disclosure of secret information “puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.”
“This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy; it is an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conventions and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity,” she said.
Shortly after Clinton’s remarks, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters: “We have had multiple conversations with officials in India. And like India and other countries, we’ll continue those conversations in the coming days.”
Besides US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer, Under Secretary of State Bill “Burns and others have been in touch with their counterparts in India,” he said but declined to say why Washington had reached out to India.
Asked to comment on Clinton’s reported description of India and other members of G4 — Brazil, Germany and Japan- as “self-appointed front-runners” for a permanent seat of UN Security Council, Crowley said: “I’m not going to comment on the contents of any cable.”
Nor would he say what was broadly in the documents relating to the South Asia. “Again, I don’t think I can answer that question without getting into the contents of documents, which we won’t do.”
Clinton was talking to her counterparts simply as a “a colleague and friend,” he suggested. “We have called governments to warn them about what was happening, and we will continue to answer any question that they have as this continues.”
Asked if it was legal on the part of diplomats to gather biometric data as directed by Clinton, as revealed by a leaked cable, Crowley said:
“Diplomats - we both promote democracy, the rule of law, and we obey United States law.”
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama “was - as an understatement - not pleased” with the WikiLeaks disclosures.
Clinton also expressed confidence that US diplomatic efforts will survive the leak of the documents, whose authenticity she would not confirm.
“I can tell you, in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, ‘Don’t worry about it; you should see what we say about you,’” Clinton said. “I would hope we would be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together.”
Clinton added, however, that “the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)