- By Charles HomansCharles Homans is a special correspondent for the New Republic and the former features editor of Foreign Policy.
Has Cablegate claimed its first State Department scalp? McClatchy’s Warren P. Strobel reports:
In what appears to be the first diplomatic casualty from the latest WikiLeaks revelations, the U.S. ambassador to Libya has returned to Washington and is likely to leave his post, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
Ambassador Gene Cretz (above), who had held the post since 2008, signed a handful of cables about the health and personal eccentricities of Muammar al-Gaddafi which were among the first and most high-profile State Department documents published by WikiLeaks. The most notorious among them (which was high-profile enough to make it into a Saturday Night Live skit) noted that Qaddafi “relies heavily” on a Ukrainian nurse, “who has been described as a ‘voluptuous blonde.'”
Strobel reports that even if Cretz’s recall was not entirely WikiLeaks related, the scandal apparently had a lot to do with it:
A senior State Department official said that the WikiLeaks revelations were not the only reason for Cretz’s return, noting the frustrations of U.S.-Libyan ties.
“It’s a complicated relationship, and WikiLeaks just added to that complication,” said the official, who requested anonymity because no announcement has been made on Cretz’s status.
Cretz was the first U.S. ambassador dispatched to Libya since his predecessor was withdrawn in 1972, three years after Gaddafi took power in a coup. Where Cretz is headed next hasn’t been announced.