Madam Secretary

Clinton: WikiLeaks disclosure is ‘attack on the international community’

Secretary Clinton forcefully condemned the "illegal disclosure of classified information" by WikiLeaks and declared, "This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community — the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity." Clinton made the remarks ...

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary Clinton forcefully condemned the "illegal disclosure of classified information" by WikiLeaks and declared, "This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community — the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity."

Clinton made the remarks today at a news conference in which she also said the disclosure "puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems." As examples of jeopardizing individuals’ safety, she mentioned anti-corruption activists who provide details about official misconduct and social workers who share documentation about sexual crimes. In those cases, revealing people’s  identities could result in their imprisonment, torture, or even death.

For those cheering on the people who disclosed the classified documents, Clinton said she wanted to "set the record straight":

There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases. In contrast, what is being put on display in this cache of documents is the fact that American diplomats are doing the work we expect them to do. They are helping identify and prevent conflicts before they start. They are working hard every day to solve serious practical problems.

Clinton has a strong point. It’s one thing to disclose specific documents that reveal genuine misconduct; it’s quite another to unleash thousands of files that disclose confidential communications that are part of the day-to-day reality of doing diplomacy.

Secretary Clinton forcefully condemned the "illegal disclosure of classified information" by WikiLeaks and declared, "This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community — the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity."

Clinton made the remarks today at a news conference in which she also said the disclosure "puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems." As examples of jeopardizing individuals’ safety, she mentioned anti-corruption activists who provide details about official misconduct and social workers who share documentation about sexual crimes. In those cases, revealing people’s  identities could result in their imprisonment, torture, or even death.

For those cheering on the people who disclosed the classified documents, Clinton said she wanted to "set the record straight":

There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases. In contrast, what is being put on display in this cache of documents is the fact that American diplomats are doing the work we expect them to do. They are helping identify and prevent conflicts before they start. They are working hard every day to solve serious practical problems.

Clinton has a strong point. It’s one thing to disclose specific documents that reveal genuine misconduct; it’s quite another to unleash thousands of files that disclose confidential communications that are part of the day-to-day reality of doing diplomacy.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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