Wikileaks has released 220 of the over 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables in its possession. The cables, sent between the U.S. State Department and its embassies around the world, were also released to a handful of news organizations in advance. Here are the five biggest revelations of the Wikileaks release.
- China Hacked Google (Maybe) The Wall Street Journal's Josh Chin assesses, "One China-related item in the Wikileaks release that’s getting a lot of attention is the assertion in one embassy cable that the Politburo—the powerful governing group of China’s Communist Party–directed hacking attacks against Google after one of its members searched his own name on the U.S. company’s site and didn’t like the results. Noting that the cable in question has yet to be made public, the Council on Foreign Relations wisely cautioned in a blog post Sunday against taking the story as gospel."
- U.S. Spying on the UN The Guardian's Robert Booth and Julian Borger write, "Washington is running a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the leadership of the United Nations, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK." It at one point called for "forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communications."
- Arab Leaders Distrust Iran, Call for Attack Against It The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg quotes extensively from political leaders of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirate, and Saudi Arabia, who are cited in the cables as calling for action against Iran. "Cut off the head of the snake," Saudi King Abdullah reportedly told a diplomat. Goldberg writes, "Some of you recall the international kerfuffle that erupted when the U.A.E.'s ambassador to the United States told me at the Aspen Ideas Festival that a military strike on Iran may become a necessity. It turns out he was understating the fear and urgency felt by his government, and other Gulf governments."
- Arab Leaders Split from Arab Publics? Foreign Policy's Marc Lynch explains, "Arab leaders routinely say different things in private and in public, but that their public rhetoric is often a better guide to what they will actually do since that reflects their calculation of what they can get away with politically. Arab leaders urged the U.S. to go after Saddam privately for years, but wouldn't back it publicly for fear of the public reaction. It's the same thing with Iran over the last few years, or with their views of the Palestinian factions and Israel. But now those private conversations are being made public, undeniably and with names attached. ... Will Arab leaders pay any significant political price for these positions, as they clearly feared? Or will it turn out that in this era of authoritarian retrenchment they really can get away with whatever diplomatic heresies they like even if it outrages public opinion?"
- Israeli Intelligence Thinks Iran Sanctions Are Working Foreign Policy's Blake Hounshell notes, "Mossad chief: Iran sanctions are working." In the 2007 cable he cites, Mossad Director Meir Dagan tells the U.S. The cables summarizes, "On the Iranian nuclear program, Dagan proved surprisingly optimistic about the effects of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and their impact on Iranian elites"