Many disclosures of classified information, such as the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, have served the public interest by shedding light on the previously obscure development of government policy. The latest document dump by WikiLeaks, consisting of diplomatic cables rather than military reports, so far falls short of that noble purpose, though it contains some fascinating — even titillating — details. The primary objective seems to be to embarrass the United States and complicate its foreign policy.
We don't question the right of news organizations to publish excerpts of the 250,000 diplomatic dispatches released by WikiLeaks. For good or ill, the information was going to end up in the public domain. The responsible party is WikiLeaks.
The revelations include unflattering characterizations by American officials of foreign leaders and details about how Arab leaders have beseeched the United States to attack Iran. They also show that U.S. diplomats have been asked to gather personal information about foreign officials, among them U.N. representatives. One cable described how a U.S. diplomat in Germany urged that country to "weigh carefully" the arrest of CIA officers suspected in the torture of a German national suspected of terrorism — because there might be implications for the Germany-U.S. relationship.