It surely wasn’t intended as an attack on the international community — Wikileaks’ statement yesterday afternoon made it abundantly clear who their target was — but this is nifty spin insofar as it tries to redirect international anger away from the U.S. and towards Assange. The One could have said this himself, in fact, at his presser this morning to announce the federal pay freeze, but I’m actually glad that he didn’t. It’s bad enough that the U.S. secretary of state has to start publicly jumping through diplomatic hoops to limit the damage from Wikileaks’ cretinous agenda. Let’s spare the president that indignity at least.
Here’s the only thing I’ll say in Assange’s semi-defense: He’s not holding back leaked material that happens to undermine his political agenda. Read David Frum’s new column today reciting the endless ways in which the Wikileaks docs support longstanding hawkish suspicions about Iran. Quote:
But here’s the ghastliest irony of the leak. If it was Julian Assange’s intention to use information hacked from U.S. computer systems to protect Iran from U.S. military action, he has very likely massively failed at his own purpose.
The leak makes military conflict between Iran and the United States more likely, not less. The leak has changed the political equation in ways that reduce the restraint on U.S. policy.
Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli media are practically high-fiving people over the revelations of Arab leaders urging Obama to bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran. Hillary herself nodded at the fact that the cables show an anti-Iranian international consensus, and Ahmadinejad, while dismissing the documents as “mischief,” wondered aloud whether they might have been deliberately leaked as part of a U.S. plot(!). At Tablet magazine, Lee Smith goes so far as to call them “the Pentagon Papers of the pro-Israel right.” (Arab media, naturally, is suppressing the entire story.) None of which is to suggest that this somehow vindicates the leak, mind you: Assange and Wikileaks evidently calculated that the more documents they published — regardless of content — the more shaken foreign powers would be by the disclosure and the more cynically America would be viewed around the world. As Jake Tapper put it, citing the leaks about Sunni views of Iran and Yemeni efforts to cover up U.S. counterterror efforts: “Now the cooperation will dry up and by definition the US will be more at risk, officials fear.” That’s what Assange wants, even if it means admitting that, yes, the dreaded neocons are right about Khamenei and Ahmadinejad.
One question, though: Didn’t Wikileaks claim yesterday that its overriding purpose in releasing the documents was to reveal U.S. hypocrisy? Evidently we’re guilty of saying one thing in and something else in private and, well, that’s just not cool, darn it. Except that, per the documents, we’re not doing that at all when it comes to Iran: We’re saying exactly the same thing in private as we are in public. Iran is a rogue regime bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and it poses a serious threat to its neighbors (including Europe). That was the Bush line, that’s the Obama line, and now we know it’s the line from pretty much everyone else in the world save for the blessed American left. So there’s no hypocrisy on this issue, which may help explain why today Wikileaks is suddenly shrugging at the documents:
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson denied that Sunday’s release of papers harms United States security.
“I don’t believe anything in these cables are national security concerns,” he said.
“If we are talking about strained relations or embarrassment, that does not fall into national security concerns,” he said with a shrug.
“Secret” is not the highest level of classification, Hrafnsson pointed out. WikiLeaks has no top-secret documents, he said, adding that more than half are unclassified.
Is he suggesting that they wouldn’t release “top secret” documents if they had any, even ones that demonstrated the cardinal sin of — gasp — U.S. hypocrisy? Because I’m thinking that not only would they release them, Assange would call a presser so that he could read from the documents himself. Why, I wouldn’t be shocked if he even went got a new hair color for the occasion.
Here’s the clip. Hillary’s best line, unfortunately, isn’t featured in it: “I can tell you, in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, ‘Don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.'”