|Julian Assange, founder of the cyber-snitching site, WikiLeaks:|
The first news reports from WikiLeaks’ long-expected disclosure of a quarter-million State Department diplomatic cables appeared on major newspaper websites on Sunday, though WikiLeaks’ own website was unavailable, purportedly due to a traffic-flooding cyberattack.
WikiLeaks’ media partners report that the secret-spilling organization gave them 251,287 diplomatic cables from America’s 270 embassies and consulates around the world, and another 8,000 diplomatic “directives” from Washington. About the half the documents are unclassified; the remainder are mostly at the relatively-low classification level “Confidential.” About 11,000 are classified “Secret.”
WikiLeaks is calling their latest blockbuster “Cablegate.” So far the news from the organization’s media partners suggests the leak is unlikely to topple the presidency, but there are some brewing scandals.
Most prominently, a series of secret directives from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her predecessor Condoleezza Rice, instruct U.S. diplomats to gather intelligence on their foreign counterparts at the United Nations, including, according to one cable, “internet and intranet ‘handles’, internet email addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent-flier account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.” A directive sent to U.S. embassies in Africa instructs foreign service officers to collect DNA from local government officials, without specifying a method.
Another cable appears to confirm that the Chinese hacker attacks against the Dalai Lama, Google and a host of U.S. companies detected that surfaced over the last two years was the work of the Chinese government. A Chinese source for the American embassy revealed that China’s Politburo directed the intrusions as part of a cyber-intelligence gathering program erected in 2002.
(Click here to read the full story on the Wired.com website.)