Ahead of a planned Sunday night Wikileak document drop of embassy cables, the White House issued a terse pre-buttal:
We anticipate the release of what are claimed to be several hundred thousand classified State department cables on Sunday night that detail private diplomatic discussions with foreign governments. 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 US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world. To be clear — 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. These documents also may include named individuals who in many cases live and work under oppressive regimes and who are trying to create more open and free societies.
President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal. By releasing stolen and classified documents, Wikileaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals. We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.
The State Department also is warning ominously of “grave consequences” for those who distribute the classified documents. Wikileaks now claims it's under some kind of cyberattack. The website has previously released documents from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The New York Times has the cables. Their story, headlined “Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels” is characteristically less sexy than the “Global Diplomacy Crisis” declared by The Guardian.