News24

Leaking of secret papers 'unfortunate'

2010-12-18 08:02

New York - The leaking of confidential documents to WikiLeaks is unfortunate and will complicate international diplomacy, the UN chief said on Friday.

"It's unfortunate that these confidential documents have been leaked," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York.

"But whatever the motivations of this leakage might be on the part of leakers, this will make it very difficult for the normal and reasonable conduct of business, particularly in the diplomatic world," he said.

For weeks WikiLeaks' founder, Australian computer hacker Julian Assange, and his colleagues have been releasing secret US diplomatic cables on their website and teaming up with newspapers around the globe to amplify the impact of the disclosures, some of which have been highly embarrassing to the United States and other countries.

Ban himself was highlighted in one of the most damning cables published by WikiLeaks.

According to that cable, the State Department asked US envoys at theUN headquarters and elsewhere to procure credit card and frequent flyer numbers, mobile phone numbers, e-mail addresses, passwords and other confidential data from the UN officials and foreign diplomats.

It mentioned Ban as a target for information-gathering activities by US diplomats.

The UN chief declined to comment on Assange's court case in Britain, where he is fighting a Swedish extradition request.

However, he said that the right to information should be tempered by the need for confidentiality.

Many countries, Ban noted, keep classified documents secret for periods of 30 years or more.

"There needs to be balance, fair balance between the right to know, the freedom of expression ... (in order) to preserve the necessary and confidential conduct of diplomacy which requires confidentiality," he said.

Comments
  • Realist - 2010-12-18 10:55

    I am stil amazed by these countries that are so upset with the wikileaks. The information that is being leaked CANNOT be seen as a threat to any countries security. What it does highlight is the stupid comments and decisions made by government officials. Yes it is embarassing for them, but remember they wqere elected and shoiuld be held responsible to the electorate. If they make stupid statements or make stupid decisiopns, then the electorate should be made aware of this as it should influence the way they vote.

      Mikemcc - 2010-12-18 12:04

      I definitely agree with you with regards to the diplomatic cables, however, I think that the publishing of information that could put people (armed forces etc) in harm should be very carefully thought about before being made public. Releasing info on war strategies etc will only result in the troops on the ground being exposed to more danger than they already face, which is unecessary in my opinion.

      goyougoodthing - 2010-12-18 12:12

      Blaming wikileaks for causing conflict is like a Peaedophile blaming the police for catching him.

      Mikemcc - 2010-12-18 13:44

      @goyougoodthing - No one is blaming wikileaks for causing conflict, wikileaks has the conflicts to thank for its existence not the other way around. This does not however make it any more morally acceptable to further increase the danger to people on the ground all in the name of freedom of speech. It would do no harm to apply one's mind to the information before releasing it to the public by asking if the public stands to gain anything by further endangering anyone's life. I think the answer to this will most often be that the general public would gain nothing from it, the same cannot be said for combatants on either side.

      goyougoodthing - 2010-12-18 14:20

      Hey Mike, the combatants on both sides are fighting a war invented by the CIA. It's nonsense, it's time to bring the whole lot down. It is time for the people to actually rise up. Continued conflict by the armed forces only enslave us, rack up massive debt and murder poor boys of average intelligence who fight for rich people. If wikileaks can bring this to a head, more of it.

      Mikemcc - 2010-12-18 14:48

      I totally agree with you about the validity of the wars, and thus have no issue with the release of information that would help shed light on the truth behind some of the shady decisions taken. I have absolutely no qualms about any politician being embarassed or even removed from office for information released about their conduct or communications. As I mentioned my only issue lies with the releasing of information that is of operational significance (security protocols, strategies for combat ect) as this will only further increase the number of dead on all sides, and at best provide some entertaining reading to members of the public that have a military background and are capable of comprehending what they are reading. Is this of any value to Joe Public? In my opinion it is not. Should wikileaks continue releasing information of interest to the general public? Absolutely and best of luck to them.

  • goyougoodthing - 2010-12-18 11:11

    if they all stopped LYING there would be no problem.

  • Dakalo - 2010-12-23 13:41

    expose them assange expose them we want to know de truth

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