Bans and Leaks

It’s all cables, all the time. Stories continue to clog the news about the contents of the leaks and the potential fallout in diplomatic circles. In her first statement on the subject, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential.” And speaking directly to the public and our “friends and partners” abroad, Clinton had some strong words: “I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information.” But she is “confident” that the relationships the administration has with other countries will “withstand this challenge.”

Some of the fallout Clinton and other U.S. officials are attempting to stem includes the effect the leaks will have on information sent via cable in the future and whether foreign governments will be less open in their dealings with Washington going forward. Former Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill said that if he were still in the government, the leak “would have an effect on what I would put in the next cable.” Foreign officials, according to Hill, will also speak less freely since they will be worried that what they say will eventually make it into a newspaper article.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon plans to release it’s don’t ask, don’t tell report today. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen will speak about their findings at a news conference and then head to the Hill tomorrow to see the Senate Armed Services Committee. As has previously been reported by the Washington Post, a survey conducted for the report found that “more than 70 percent of [active-duty and reserve troops] said the effect of lifting the ban would be positive, mixed or nonexistent.”

And a Pakistani journalist, Kareem Khan, is suing Secretary Gates along with CIA Director Leon Panetta for $500 million in damages. He is suing for “wrongful death,” arguing that his brother and son were killed by a U.S. drone even though the family members had no ties to the Taliban or al-Qaeda.