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US Condemns WikiLeaks Release of Secret Documents

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussing the release of thousands of secret government documents earlier this week

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This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the release of thousands of State Department documents will not in any way interfere with American diplomacy.

HILLARY CLINTON: “I have not had any concerns expressed about whether any nation will not continue to work with, and discuss matters of importance to us both, going forward.”

Secretary Clinton condemned the release of diplomatic cables as an attack on American foreign policy interests and the international community. She said the United States is taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole the information. And she said it is taking action to make sure it does not happen again. But the Secretary of State said the real damage to America’s international relationships will be small. She made the comments during a visit to Kazakhstan Wednesday. Secretary Clinton spoke by telephone with a number of world leaders to express regret for the release of the documents. She made this statement on Monday.

HILLARY CLINTON: “The United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations. I want to make clear that our official foreign policy is not set through these messages but here in Washington.”

The website WikiLeaks planned to publish more than two hundred fifty thousand diplomatic cables this week. Several newspapers have been reporting details of the documents.

They include statements by American diplomats about the private and public lives of world leaders. They also include criticisms of governments around the world. For example, a secret document apparently from the American embassy in Moscow says Russia is extremely corrupt at every level of government.

Hundreds of diplomatic cables from the American embassy in Kabul say corruption exists in every level of government in Afghanistan. The cables accuse government officials of making illegal payments, hiding money and profiting from the drug trade. They also describe Afghan President Hamid Karzai as weak and ineffective.

Some cables say Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have urged the United States to attack Iran as a way to prevent it from getting nuclear weapons. Other cables suggest that the United States military has carried out air strikes against suspected al-Qaida targets in Yemen. The Yemeni government had earlier told its people that its military alone had been carrying out the raids.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaking to media in London this October
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaking to media in London this October

Officials believe an American soldier gave all the documents to WikiLeaks after getting them from a Defense Department computer network.

The international police agency INTERPOL approved a “red notice” for the arrest of the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. It tells officials to follow his movements. Sweden approved an order to arrest Mr. Assange, who is an Australian citizen. He is wanted for questioning about sex crimes.

American government officials have been angry about WikiLeaks publications that began earlier this year. They included hundreds of thousands of documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.