Politics & Society
December Fri 03, 2010
Dafna Linzer is an ex-reporter for the Washington Post (2004-2008). She covered the nuclear situation in Iran, winning the United Nations Gold Medal for international reporting. In the past, she worked as a correspondent for the Associated Press, covering terrorism and local conflicts around the world. She is known for her reporting on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Now she works for ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom that is concerned with “investigative journalism in the public interest”. It was the first news site to win the Pulitzer Prize for a piece on the New York Times. We called Dafna to ask her what she thinks of this first wave of documents published on WikiLeaks.
Do you think that the US embassy cables were genuine and authentic documents or not?
Yes, they are authentic. No doubt.
What was your reaction to them? The Italian foreign secretary said that the documents are the “equivalent to September 11 for diplomacy”.
I don’t see it that way. There are no horrible or shocking revelations in any of the cables. There’s no secret illegal activity revealed in the documents. I think a lot of it is personal opinion and observations. I can’t imagine that the language used is very different from the language used in any Western country’s Foreign Service cables. I really can’t imagine that if there were leaks of the Italian foreign ministry cables or the French foreign ministry cables, that they would look very different. I’m sure it is a very big and embarrassing headache for the Obama administration and for people involved from the Bush administration, and it tells some very interesting stories. But there’s nothing very damaging or bad. The US government does not come out looking bad.
The spokesperson for WikiLeaks said that the cables showed that US diplomats spy at the United Nations. They are calling the diplomats spies.
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