Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
U.S. Ambassador Louis Susman on Potential Wikileaks Disclosures

Statement by U.S. Ambassador Louis Susman on Potential Wikileaks Disclosures

28 November 2010

Any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has the very real potential to harm innocent individuals as well as efforts to advance objectives we share with the United Kingdom and nations around the world: nonproliferation and arms control, addressing violent extremism, and promoting the spread of democracy and human rights, to name just a few.  Given the potential impact, I condemn without reservation such unauthorized disclosures and my government is taking steps to prevent future security breaches.  We have briefed the U.K. government and other friends and allies around the world about the potential impact of these disclosures.

While I will not discuss the details or authenticity of any material which may have been provided to the press, I can speak to the practice of diplomatic cable writing.  These messages are the day-to-day record of the diplomatic activity conducted by our Embassies around the world.  Diplomatic cables inform the foreign policy decisions made by the U.S. government but should not be seen as representing U.S. policy on their own.  They are a part of the extensive cooperation we have with other countries, which is based on relationships of trust, so that we can share perspectives on events in confidence.  When this trust is betrayed, it is harmful to the United States and our interests.  However, I am confident that our uniquely productive relationship with the United Kingdom will remain close and strong, focused on promoting our shared objectives and values.

Our government takes security very seriously, which is why our communications are often classified.  We have and will continue to take aggressive action to ensure our systems and private communications are secure. We have expressed directly to Wikileaks, through a letter from the Legal Advisor of the State Department, the risks posed by this unauthorized disclosure.  The letter also stressed that we will not negotiate about the dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified documents.

Releasing documents of this kind place at risk the lives of innocent individuals – from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers and diplomats.    It is reprehensible for any individual or organization to attempt to gain notoriety at the expense of people who had every expectation of privacy in sharing information.