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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    johnjac (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 9:08am

    potential risk

    What in the world does "potential risk" mean? Risk is already uncertain, so was is added by saying "potential risk"?

    Head scratching.....

     

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  2.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 9:29am

    Re: potential risk

    It's one of those made up phrases...like "near miss".

    "Here's one they just made up: "near miss". When two planes almost collide, they call it a near miss. It's a near hit. A collision is a near miss." -George Carlin

     

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  3.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 9:39am

    Because we actually read them.

    Basically, the details show what many of us have said from the beginning.

    I believe those denouncing WL never took the time to actually read what was in the cables.

     

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  4.  
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    Dagi Cueppers, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 9:45am

    Twitter Petition

    Please consider signing this petition to stand up for WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and Bradley Manning. It takes one click to sign and tweet it directly to Barack Obama's Twitter account. Thank you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 9:47am

    Re: Because we actually read them.

    Of course they didn't actually read them. Those cables were above their classification and their work computers were programmed to taze them if they even thought about Wikileaks.

    /obvious sarc

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: potential risk

    - in John's example id say the adjectives are cumulative with potential being very mild, so "potential risk" can be replaced by negligible.

    Near miss = almost missed (but in fact they didn't) or am i over thinking it?

     

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  7.  
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    sim, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 9:57am

    "potential risk"
    those fellows are trying to shut down our illegal actions and our free money graVY TRAIN

     

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  8.  
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    Kevin (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 9:59am

    Are any of us really that suprized about this

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Mats Henricson, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 10:02am

    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?

     

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  10.  
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    Mats Henricson, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 10:03am

    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?

     

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  11.  
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    Kevin (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 10:03am

    Are any of us really that suprized about this?

    Mike has mentioned a few times that we have not really seen any real damage (other than face) by the cables being leaked. It was only a matter of time before someone fessed up about.

    Sorry for the repost. I forgot how to work a keyboard.

     

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  12.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 10:08am

    slander and libel

    isn't this the exact definitions of both slander and libel for the government to have done this? Basically we've committed defamation on every country we went after trying to villify assange. Good job US. *facepalm*.

    sheesh.

     

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  13.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: potential risk

    near miss = it missed but was *really* close

     

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  14.  
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    johnson, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    it was all a setup so as to get tighter control on freedom of speech, the internet and whistle blowing. trouble is they have done themselves more harm by lying and over reacting. the Obama administration is still touting human rights and freedom of speech (particularly to China atm) whilst doing the exact opposite! disgraceful!

     

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  15.  
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    Tangerine (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    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: www.support-julian-assange.com

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

    Thank you...

     

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  16.  
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    pringerX (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 11:31am

    This is completely unsurprising. If there had been compromising information released, it would have been dealt with swiftly and most likely, silently. The fact that it was trumpeted in this manner suggests nothing crucial was at stake in the first place, aside from some egos.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Has anyone considered the that "officials" are trying to downplay the issues to congress, so they don't have to live with some congressional panel up their patoots for the next 5 years?

    Just say, you know?

     

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  18.  
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    Jim, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 12:38pm

    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

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    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.

     

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  20.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: potential risk

    or, if you use separate words rather than a stock phrase 'just barely a miss' or various other slightly awkward constructions. 'just barely missed' works fine though... tense, mood, all sorts of other fun grammatical things playing around there.

     

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  21.  
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    Pixelation, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

    Perhaps the attack on Assange will ease up now. On another note, it's nice to see Lieberman is retiring. Hopefully he realized he is losing it.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2011 @ 3:29pm

    The US Government has lied

    And you know what the sad part is? Most people won't care. They'll go on with "my country, right or wrong" and not care about those rights that are getting taken away.

     

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  23.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 20th, 2011 @ 10:14pm

    Re: 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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  24.  
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    mhenriday (profile), Jan 23rd, 2011 @ 9:16am

    It would seem that anyone interested in the (recent ?) history

    of the US State Department would be advised to begin his or her research with a dip into Alan Stuart Franken's book, «Lies and the lying liars that tell them», just for background colour.... Henri

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    hmm, Jan 23rd, 2011 @ 5:50pm

    not harmful eh?

    I think the leaks have been EXTREMELY harmful (mostly to my ability to sleep at night) because they've exposed Obama's administration as a totalitarian sham which would love nothing more than to end freedom of the press.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Jack, Mar 12th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Manning

    It's not about weather he is guilty of anything it's to discourage whistle blowers. Cheney and his gang outed a CIA agent and almost got a lot of under cover agents killed around the world and they got away free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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