King: WikiLeaks Release ‘Worse Than Military Attack’

WASHINGTON (AP/1010 WINS/WCBS 880) — Hundreds of thousands of State Department documents leaked Sunday revealed a hidden world of backstage international diplomacy, divulging candid comments from world leaders and detailing occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea.

The classified diplomatic cables released by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and reported on by news organizations in the United States and Europe provided often unflattering assessments of foreign leaders, ranging from U.S. allies such as Germany and Italy to other nations like Libya, Iran and Afghanistan.

The cables also contained new revelations about long-simmering nuclear trouble spots, detailing U.S., Israeli and Arab world fears of Iran’s growing nuclear program, American concerns about Pakistan’s atomic arsenal and U.S. discussions about a united Korean peninsula as a long-term solution to North Korean aggression.

Long Island Rep. Peter King told 1010 WINS the release of the information put “American lives at risk all over the world.”

1010 WINS’ Kyle McMorrow speaks with Rep. Peter King

“This is worse even than a physical attack on Americans, it’s worse than a military attack,” King said.

King has written letters to both U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking for swift action to be taken against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

King wants Holder to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act and has also called on Clinton to determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

“By doing that we will be able to seize their funds and go after anyone who provides them with any help or contributions or assistance whatsoever,” King said.

“The Attorney General and I don’t always agree on different issues.  But I believe on this one, he and I strongly agree that there should be a criminal prosecution,” King told WCBS 880.

The leaked cables also include American memos encouraging U.S. diplomats at the United Nations to collect detailed data about the U.N. secretary general, his team and foreign diplomats — going beyond what is considered the normal run of information-gathering expected in diplomatic circles.

None of the revelations is particularly explosive, but their publication could prove problematic for the officials concerned.

The documents published by The New York Times, France’s Le Monde, Britain’s Guardian newspaper, German magazine Der Spiegel and others laid out the behind-the-scenes conduct of Washington’s international relations, shrouded in public by platitudes, smiles and handshakes at photo sessions among senior officials.

The White House immediately condemned the release of the WikiLeaks documents, saying “such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.”

It also noted that “by its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information. It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions.”

“Nevertheless, these cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world,” the White House said.

On its website, The New York Times said “the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match.”

Assange claimed the administration was trying to cover up alleged evidence of serious “human rights abuse and other criminal behavior” by the U.S. government.

The WikiLeaks website was not accessible Sunday and the group claimed it was under a cyberattack.

In a session Sunday with a group of Arab journalists, Assange said, “The State Department understands that we are a responsible organization, so it is trying to make it as hard as it can for us to publish responsibly.”

He called the Obama administration “a regime that doesn’t believe in the freedom of the press and doesn’t act like it believes it.”

Extracts of the more than 250,000 cables posted online by news outlets that had been given advance copies of the documents showed deep U.S. concerns about Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs along with fears about regime collapse in Pyongyang.

The Times highlighted documents that indicated the U.S. and South Korea were “gaming out an eventual collapse of North Korea” and discussing the prospects for a unified country if the isolated, communist North’s economic troubles and political transition lead it to implode.

The paper also cited documents showing the U.S. used hardline tactics to win approval from countries to accept freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. It said Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if its president wanted to meet with President Barack Obama and said the Pacific island of Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to take in a group of detainees.

It also cited a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing that included allegations from a Chinese contact that China’s Politburo directed a cyber intrusion into Google’s computer systems as part of a “coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws.”

Le Monde said another memo asked U.S. diplomats to collect basic contact information about U.N. officials that included Internet passwords, credit card numbers and frequent flyer numbers. They were asked to obtain fingerprints, ID photos, DNA and iris scans of people of interest to the United States, Le Monde said.

The Guardian said some cables showed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urging the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program. The newspaper also said officials in Jordan and Bahrain have openly called for Iran’s nuclear program to be stopped by any means and that leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt referred to Iran “as ‘evil,’ an ‘existential threat’ and a power that ‘is going to take us to war,'” The Guardian said.

The Times said another batch of documents raised questions about Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his relationship with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. One cable said Berlusconi “appears increasingly to be the mouthpiece of Putin” in Europe, the Times reported.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Sunday called the release the “Sept. 11 of world diplomacy,” in that everything that had once been accepted as normal has now changed.

Der Spiegel reported that the cables portrayed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in unflattering terms. It said American diplomats saw Merkel as risk-averse and Westerwelle as largely powerless.

The Obama administration has been bracing for the release for the past week. Top officials have notified allies that the contents of the diplomatic cables could prove embarrassing because they contain candid assessments of foreign leaders and their governments, as well as details of American policy.

The State Department’s top lawyer warned Assange late Saturday that lives and military operations would be put at risk if the cables were released. Legal adviser Harold Koh said WikiLeaks would be breaking the law if it went ahead. He also rejected a request from Assange to cooperate in removing sensitive details from the documents.

Assange, in a response released Sunday by his London lawyer, said he had no intention of halting the release.

The New York Times said the documents involved 250,000 cables — the daily message traffic between the State Department and more than 270 U.S. diplomatic outposts around the world. The newspaper said that in its reporting, it attempted to exclude information that would endanger confidential informants or compromise national security.

The Times said that after its own redactions, it sent Obama administration officials the cables it planned to post and invited them to challenge publication of any information they deemed would harm the national interest. After reviewing the cables, the officials suggested additional redactions, the Times said. The newspaper said it agreed to some, but not all.

(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • howdy doody

    King, the pupit he is, should know wikileaks is our window to the truth, and the truth always sheds blood of tyrants and patriots, just like facebook and tweeter is doing in Eygpt. Send King to Cairo. CBS is a scam, along with the rest of US media brainwash machine. Keep watching TV and I see nothing but ROBOTS at both ends.

    • Howdy Doody

      I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. Thomas Jefferson, (Attributed)
      3rd president of US (1743 – 1826)

  • Amazed

    If this is our security and if Wikilinks could brake it that easy, there is a real problem that needs to be addressed here and it is not the one who leaked the information. Also…. if what they reported was true then it sure makes us look pretty stupid doesn’t it. What the HELL is going on with this country and we should never prosecute the whistle blower!!

  • Ed

    I don’t remember Rep. Peter King, who has supported all the Bush/Obama wars on the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestinian land, showing any concern for the innocent victims of U.S. and Israeli violence in those lands.

    When he ceases his double standards and hypocrisy, I’ll listen to him. Until then, he’s just another blowhard warmonger.

  • How far?

    But what if America is wrong?

  • ThoreauHD

    Well, he’s right. The only people that deserve a bullet more would be mass murderers. He’s done everything he can to arm the enemy except detonate the bombs and yell Allahu Ahkbar.

    • Shanon Hall

      Wake up. Seriously. Now people who inform “we the people” of what is going on with our government, are traitors. Im pretty sure Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, any of them were referring to you with statements like “Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither”.
      What do you think the government will check itself? It is people like you who are the biggest threat to our democracy. Dont worry, they wont designate you a terrorist. You get a big smiley face from big brother.

  • king_sinner

    The civilian-correspondents and Pfc. Manning (and his superiors) are deserving of medals of freedom and a couple medals of honor. As far as the congressmen who sell children out for power and greed, and who are about to sacrifice the middle-class, well, they’re just useful idiots.

  • Al Dorman

    King is a nut.

  • asdbsd

    @ME: Okay, so what do you say about the following thought experiment. Let’s say tomorrow SWAT team breaks into your house, rapes your wife, kills your children and sends you to the concentration camp because they believe you might be associated with terrorists.

    Not like you are, they just believe in that. So you have to spend your life behind the bars.

    “The main goal is and should always be our safety!!!! Whatever means they are using to do this is fine by me!”

    So you’re fine with that, I guess?

  • http://eris9 ErIs9

    All you people are stupid what happen to familys children dont you get it all your hate is killing the world stop the violence end the hate and think about it Its ONE WORLD nmmot nations what is wrong with you finger pointing people who cares whos to blame just stop so we have a chance at tomorrow

  • ME

    What is wrong with some of you people!? Our government might not be the best but if my memory serves me correctly, We have not been attacked since SEPT 11th! The main goal is and should always be our safety!!!! Our government is doing a pretty good job of keeping our country safe. Whatever means they are using to do this is fine by me! I feel less safe now than ever before. This terrorrist Assange has put my family at risk along with the rest of our country. Let’s continue to live our lives and put food on the table for our families and let the government do their job by whatever means the deem necessary to keep us safe.

    In closing, this schmuck(Assange) should be brought up on charges for putting all of us in danger.

    • Michael H.

      “We have not been attacked since SEPT 11th!”

      Are you willfully ignorant or are you really that stupid?

      – The anthrax attacks (which are still unsolved)
      – Richard Reid shoe bomb attack
      – Luke Helder and his mailbox bombs
      – LAX gunman (shot up the El Al ticket counter killing 2)
      – DC area snipers John Allen Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo (killed 10)
      – Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove his SUV into a crowd of students, injuring 9
      – The Trolley Square shooting in SLC
      – Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church shooting, kills 2
      – Josh and Bruce Turnidge kill 2 in Woodburne, Oregon with a homemade explosive
      – Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad opens fires on a military recruiting office killing one in Little Rock
      – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, aka the “underwear bomber” manages to light his junk on fire, causing thousands of travelers to have their junk touched by the TSA
      – Times Square car bomb
      – Jacksonville FL mosque bombing

      Plenty of terror attacks in the US since 2001, and in the vast majority of them, the government couldn’t do a damned thing to stop them. This whole “We have not been attacked since…” nonsense is just that, a bunch of nonsense.

  • The Truth

    There is no real Democracy unless the Gov’t edites it. As for Peter King he is a sponser of terrorism himself if its true he supported the I.R.A. Freedom of speech is the way to go so if there is nothing to hide then let them publish it. If it is so important keep your mouth shut. Typical GOP idealogy the most unpatriot type.

  • Cody

    The good thing about these leaks is that they allow the American people a little transparency. It’s evidence that the photo-ops and handshakes we see in the media take place with fingers crossed.

    The negative side is, of course, a major hit to security. It just comes down to what you prefer: liberty or security. I prefer to know what my votes and tax dollars are really promoting.

    Imagine if our own government was doing highly illegal things behind our backs, and there was no organization like Wikileaks to let the people know. They should indeed be careful about what they choose to publish, however they should not be condemned as terrorists for simply telling he truth.

    It’s dangerous and idiotic to honestly believe that a man can be prosecuting for telling me something I didn’t know. It doesn’t matter if it’s in my best interest not to know. We should pursue the truth at all costs.

  • Bill Jones

    So this thug King believes that people shouldn’t know what’s being done in their name with tier dollar.

    What a piece of totalitarian filth.

  • Stephen Real

    I agree with Representative King. The US Congress and US State Department should act immediately in detaining Julian Assange and his cohorts at Wikileaks. He is definitively public enemy number one to the people of the United States.

    • Tim Rogers

      You should be deemed a terrorist and killed for being stupid. You promulgate totalitarian ideas, let’s get rid of stupid people, and let’s begin with you.

  • Karen Sonnersen

    Nice that George Bush’s billions & billions of our tax dollars are doing
    a great job in “Homeland Security” …it’s laughable !!!


      Bush’s billions of dollars? Yo Einstein, congress controls the purse strings and in case you haven’t noticed the DemocRATS have had control of congress since 2006 and control of both houses of congress AND the executive branch since 2008. Liberalism really IS a mental disorder.

    • Mr_Bill

      In an unrelated story, the Homeland Security is now blocking websites that are breaking the law(torrent file with restricted copyrighter material). These websites are doing the same thing with our national security. They should be blocked and shut down under the homeland security act. If it is good enough for a bunch of movies, it should be good enough for our national security.

  • Daystar

    Everybody wants to be a somebody…even at the expense of others.

  • dwain

    Why doesn’t the US put out a contract on Julian Assange?He is a spy and whoever is feeding him this information should be executed as a traitor.
    We have a son in the military,that along with the rest of our wonderful military will be put at risk because of this.

  • lazlo panaflex

    RE: Rep. Peter King… On the contrary, the US Govt should be labelled terrorist. From what I’ve read – they are all a disgrace, get them all out of politic. You don’t speak for us.

  • shy

    That’s prove to us we live in a developed human right country.that’s amazing.hiding the truth is the core of human right

    • Mr. McKwanzaa


      your so elikwent!

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