WikiLeaks releases Kissinger-era intelligence cables

Life

9 April 2013

History buffs and conspiracy theorists can rejoice as WikiLeaks, millions of US intelligence documents are now available online.

WikiLeaks combined the 250,000 State Department documents it had previously released in 2010 (now called Cablegate) with 1.7 million documents from the department’s Henry Kissinger era to launch the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD).

The Kissinger Cables date from 1 January 1973 to 31 December 1976, and include assessments of Vietnam and transcripts from conversations that include classic Kissinger-isms like: "The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer."

 

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The government had previously declassified or made publicly available most of the documents included in the Kissinger Cables release, but the diplomatic records were largely in PDF format at the National Archives and Records Administration.

WikiLeaks converted the PDFs to text and cross-referenced each document to make sure the data was correct and searchable.

In its research, WikiLeaks found that a chunk of the NARA files were corrupted by technical errors or reclassified as secret during George W. Bush’s administration. The organisation noted that the government is supposed to assess documents and declassify them after 25 years, but that process is running about 12 years behind. This is why the PlusD database only contains files dated through the end of 1976.

Best known for its release of secret documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, WikiLeaks lately is taking a longer, historical view of American diplomacy overseas.

Though not quite as revelatory as its previous releases, the Kissinger Cables do contain little-known news nuggets like the Vatican’s dismissal of reports of murdersin Chile under General Augusto Pinochet’s rule.

WikiLeaks hasn’t received any anonymous submissions in nearly three years and publisher Julian Assange (pictured) is still residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been granted asylum, so the organisation is turning to more mainstream projects like archiving publicly available but obscure documents like the Kissinger Cables.

Late last year, WikiLeaks also catalogued and released Guantanamo detainee policies.

IDG News Service

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