Despite the lawmakers' furious condemnation, the Justice Department investigation launched, and the calls for Julian Assange's execution, government officials say the WikiLeaked State Department cables were actually not a big deal. The White House just felt it had to say the leaks had done major damage to American diplomacy in order to get momentum for its push to shut the site down and prosecute those involved, Reuters's Mark Hosenball reports.
Privately, the state department has told Congress that the WikiLeaks fallout is "embarrassing but not damaging," congressional aides told Hosenball. But the department is still holding the official line that the site caused "substantial damage," as a spokesman told Reuters. The damage, according to officials, is limited to "pockets" where problems, though harmful, appear to be short-term. One such pocket is Yemen, where the cables revealed its president has a much closer relationship with the U.S. than he'll admit publicly.
- Was It Worth It, Amazon? Firedoglake's Emptywheel asks. Amazon, PayPal and Visa all stopped allowing their customers to donate money to WikiLeaks. "[A]ll this time the government has been pretending that the series of decisions by private corporations to stop doing business with Wikileaks were made by the businesses on their own. Surprise surprise (not!), it seems that the government was affirmatively trying to shut down Wikileaks. ... So, to these companies, now tainted with cooperation in government censorship, was it worth it? Was it worth being branded as a collaborator, knowing you were lied to?"
- Cheney Would Be Proud! Digby writes at Hullabaloo. The former vice president predicted Obama would be a one-term president, but Digby thinks "this tribute to Cheneyesque politics should make him happy... The only thing that would disappoint Cheney is that they let congress in on their little fabrication."
- WikiLeaks Wasn't Totally Stopped, New York's Julie Gerstein notes. "One thing that can't be shut down: how WikiLeaks has changed the conversation around classified information and national security."
- We've See This Routine Before, Salon's Glenn Greenwald argues. "Whenever the U.S. Government wants to demonize a person or group in order to justify attacks on them, it follows the same playbook: it manufactures falsehoods about them, baselessly warns that they pose Grave Dangers and are severely harming our National Security, peppers all that with personality smears to render the targeted individuals repellent on a personal level, and feeds it all to the establishment American media, which then dutifully amplifies and mindlessly disseminates it all. ... The case against WikiLeaks is absolutely this decade's version of the Saddam/WMD campaign."