US Government Officials Admit That They Lied About Actual Impact Of Wikileaks To Bolster Legal Effort

from the and-the-truth-comes-out dept

You may recall that when Wikileaks released those thousands of documents on the Afghan war, the official US government position was that it should be shamed for putting lives in danger and “compromising intelligence sources and methods.” It was only months later that Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted no such thing was true. We’re now seeing the same thing with the State Department cable leak. A number of grandstanding officials such as Rep. Peter King and Senator Joe Lieberman have argued that these leaks have seriously harmed US diplomacy. In fact, we heard how Wikileaks should be designated a terrorist organization for all the “harm” it’s done to US interests. This was also a common refrain in our comments — especially when it came to stories about the alleged leaker, Bradley Manning. Over and over we were told he deserves no mercy for harming American interests.

So… it seems rather interesting to see that US officials are now admitting that no serious “harm” has been caused by the leaks. In fact, the White House has admitted privately that it purposely lied about the supposed impact in order to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers.” Implicated as chief among the official liars: State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley, who lead the propaganda campaign against Wikileaks for the past few months, claiming “there has been substantial damage,” and that “hundreds of people have been put at potential risk.” And yet, when Congress asked the State Department to back up those statements, officials told them it really wasn’t that big of a deal:

“We were told (the impact of WikiLeaks revelations) was embarrassing but not damaging,” said the official, who attended a briefing given in late 2010 by State Department officials.

Basically, the details show what many of us have said from the beginning. Some of the revelations may be embarrassing, but that’s mainly because stuff was hidden that shouldn’t have been hidden in the first place. In fact, many of the reports have noted that the cables seemed to only confirm what many people already knew. Of course, that won’t change the opinion of the people who have already made up their minds that Wikileaks is, by definition, harmful — which was the point of the propaganda campaign.

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Comments on “US Government Officials Admit That They Lied About Actual Impact Of Wikileaks To Bolster Legal Effort”

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26 Comments
Mats Henricson says:

Now, why would we believe them this time?

The released cables have shown that we have been consistently lied to. Not just by US representatives, but by politicians and government officials from all countries. Why would it be different this time?

The biggest damage is that we don’t trust them anymore, which is bad for everyone. Now our politicians are trying to do damage control by asserting, without any evidence, that it isn’t as bad as we think. Of course they will do that, but is it true?

Mats Henricson says:

Now, why would we believe them this time?

The released cables have shown that we have been consistently lied to. Not just by US representatives, but by politicians and government officials from all countries. Why would it be different this time?

The biggest damage is that we don’t trust them anymore, which is bad for everyone. Now our politicians are trying to do damage control by asserting, without any evidence, that it isn’t as bad as we think. Of course they will do that, but is it true?

Tangerine (profile) says:

Open letter-video to US government on WL

Yes, the Obama administration’s response to this has been highly anti-democratic.

Personally, I’d hazard a guess our Prez is pretty tired of being beseiged, and WL and Assange gave him a black eye he didn’t need. Not good reason to behave in an authoritarian manner, but I am trying to understand our president on this.

However, more importantly – a global group of citizens is sending a strong message to the US gov to handle this better.

We are people from 15 countries at present, all participating in speaking this open letter on video.

Neither WL nor Assange are above criticism. However, it is critical we come together to send a strong message that we will not tolerate futher threats to our freedoms.

We need more people to join us! Read the open letter and instructions at: http://www.support-julian-assange.com

Please join us – or, spread the word about this project!

Thank you…

Jim says:

It would have been funnier to read about this revelation in a leaked cable via Wikilinks. Does the State Department really not see the irony here? They are used to publicly saying one thing while secretly/privately saying another. That’s what Wikilieaks exposed that caused them to have so much egg on their face. Their response to the situation? Say 1 thing publicly and another thing privately.

/facepalm

Anonymous Coward says:

Is there any wonder why the US citizens don’t trust their government? Between being lied to on a regular basis, spied on continually, with government leaders that are seemingly unconcerned for those that put them in office, and with security branches that seem to run contrary to what the country is supposed to stand for, I have a hard time understanding at this point why we aren’t haven’t government bodies at street corners asking for “papers”.

Wikileaks of itself isn’t the problem, the real problem is a government trying to hide everything it’s doing. The only reason it would be mainly concerned with hiding everything is that they are doing things that wouldn’t look good on the home front if it saw the light of day. It’s a sign of a government afraid of it’s people.

Wikileaks is having to take the place of the FOIA, since the FOIA isn’t near as effective as it should be and wikileaks manages to get the key people that know where the skeletons are and why they are there.

The exposures that wikileaks is doing needs done. The media no longer does what it should do and is instead a mouth piece of the government. Investigative reporting is for all intents and purposes dead when it comes to bringing to light misdeeds.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

potential risk

Well, if we consider that risk itself is a potential harm (an action that might result in harm), then potential risk is an action, which might result in a completely different action that is risky.

For example, if I shoot a bullet into the sky, that’s potential harm: it could hit somebody in the head and kill him. It’s risky (and irresponsible).

Conversely, if I were to eat a cheeseburger, that’s “potential risk”: what it, instead of eating a cheeseburger, I drove a drill into my eye socket? Therefore, it’s potentially risky to do something that is not risky at all.

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