Several internal U.S. government reviews have decided that the mass leak of diplomatic cables caused only limited damage to U.S. Interests.
A congressional official briefed on the reviews admitted that the Obama administration had to talk up the effects of the leaks to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers.
In short they were talking tough to scare the rest of the US into calling for the crucification of Wikileaks and Private Manning.
State Department officials have privately told Congress, and Reuters that they expect overall damage to U.S. foreign policy to be containable.
The fact is that every country has sent similar cables between their diplomatic offices and home governments. Many of them understand that the perceptions of their diplomats is useful, but not written in stone.
As for the claim by State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley that hundreds of people have been put at potential risk because their names have been compromised in the release of these cables, yeah, that was bollocks.
National security officials who carried out the damage assessments for the defense and intelligence agencies told Reuters the reviews so far have shown “pockets” of short-term damage, some of it potentially harmful. But long-term damage to U.S. intelligence and defence operations, however, is unlikely to be serious.
Places most damaged by the Wikileaks cables were those countries where links to the US turned out to be closer than local officials publicly admit.
Yemen’s president saying he would allow U.S. personnel to engage in counter-terrorism operations on Yemeni territory was a bit of an eye opener as he publicly that the operations were being handled by domestic security forces.
Although the idea that governments should be more open to their voters does not seem to have occurred to anyone.