Why is the Obama administration barring U.S. diplomats from learning what the world already knows?
I recently e-mailed a diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks to a veteran State Department employee for comment, but did not receive a reply. Days later, when I asked him again, he sheepishly said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t look at WikiLeaks documents — it is unauthorized material.”
This fear of government reprisal for merely reading thousands of leaked State Department cables is not unfounded, even if it does verge on the ridiculous. Things could be worse: At least one former high-level State Department employee has gone so far as to say that even we — the public — may be breaking the law by looking at or talking about the documents, which first reached the general public in late November via the New York Times and other major newspapers. Daniel Kurtzer, former U.S. ambassador to both Israel and Mubarak’s Egypt, recently said: “The fact that the material is in the public domain does not make it available for public viewing.”