U.S. Consulate Responds to Wikileaks Data

November 30, 2010

The US Consulate in Bermuda has responded to the leaked secret documents being released by whistle blowing website Wikileaks saying they “condemn such unauthorized disclosures.”

The statement issued this afternoon [Nov 30] by the Consulate says “Our relationship with Bermuda is based on respect and shared goals, and we expect this strong partnership to continue to flourish,” and that “Any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has harmful implications for global engagement among and between nations.Given its potential impact, we condemn such unauthorized disclosures and are taking every step to prevent future security breaches.”

The UK’s Guardian, which had advance access to the documents, says the data dump contains 27 documents from the Bermuda US Consulate from August 28, 2009 and February 23, 2010.

Germany’s Der Spiegel, who also had advanced access, has a graphic showing the same 27 documents, saying they are listed mostly as ‘unclassified/official use only.’ Wikileaks data indicates 68 cables reference Bermuda in some manner. No cables related to Bermuda have been released yet, with the remaining 250,000 total cables expected to be released in stages over the next few months.

The expected release of secret communications between the U.S. Government and countries worldwide by Wikileaks started on Sunday afternoon [Nov 28]. Wikileaks said the full set consists of 251,287 documents, and they will “give people around the world an unprecedented insight into US Government foreign activities.”

The full statement from the U.S. Consulate follows below:

One of the basic functions of diplomats is to report on developments in the societies in which they serve.

As a matter of policy we don’t comment on documents that purport to contain classified information. We condemn in the strongest terms the deliberate and unauthorized disclosure of information represented as classified materials by individuals and organizations which puts lives at risk and jeopardizes our national security.

Secretary of State Clinton stated on November 29, “The illegal disclosure of classified 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 Administration is advancing a robust foreign policy that is focused on advancing America’s national interests and leading the world in solving the most complex challenges of our time, from fixing the global economy, to thwarting international terrorism, to stopping the spread of catastrophic weapons, to advancing human rights and universal values. In every country and in every region of the world, we are working with partners to pursue these aims.

“So let’s be clear: this disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.

“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.”

Our relationship with Bermuda is based on respect and shared goals, and we expect this strong partnership to continue to flourish.

Any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has harmful implications for global engagement among and between nations. Given its potential impact, we condemn such unauthorized disclosures and are taking every step to prevent future security breaches.

While we cannot speak to the authenticity of any documents provided to the press, we can speak to the diplomatic community’s practice of cable writing. Cables reflect the internal day to day analysis and candid assessments that feed the governments’ foreign relations deliberations. Theses cables are often preliminary and incomplete expressions of foreign policy, and they should not be seen as having standing on their own or as representing U.S. policy.

Our government engages in the drafting and transmission of cables as an efficient form of global communication. The field shares information on the ground with Washington and Washington sends instructions, policy and other information to the field. Communications between the field and Washington ensures that policymakers in Washington have a full understanding of all the factors at play when they make decisions. Policy is made in Washington and field reporting is only one of the factors contributing to policy decisions.

Candid day to day reporting is the sort of information gathering and analysis that any government undertakes to inform its decisions. Analysis expressed in cables may also be out of context, or may be the opinion of the reporting officer- and those opinions may not be shared by policymakers.

Releasing the names of individuals cited in conversations that took place in confidence potentially puts their lives or careers at risk. It is reprehensible for an individual or organization to attempt to gain notoriety or wealth at the expense of people who had every expectation of privacy in sharing information.

Our government takes security very seriously, which is why our communications are often classified. We are taking aggressive action to ensure that our systems and private communications are secure. Several steps have been taken in recent weeks and months to enhance the security of our systems and to prevent the leak of information.

Foreign governments should be assured that the United States Government is committed to ensuring the confidentiality of information and will continue to strengthen the security of our systems.

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. Wikileaks Bermuda Cables | December 1, 2010
  1. Bermy says:

    Vexed B has found the summaries of the Bermuda cables ..
    http://www.vexedbermoothes.com/wikileaks_bermuda_cable/