The secret document dump by WikiLeaks not only put our foreign policy at risk in but also possibly American lives, Rep. Pete Hoekstra told me this morning. Yet he didn’t lay all the blame on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for the leak – he also criticized the U.S. government.
“I think we have to take a look at our own intel community and recognize that this is a massive failure. This database should never have been created, hundreds of thousands of people should not have been provided access to it,” the ranking Republican on House Intelligence committee said. “This is a colossal failure by our intel community, by our Department of Defense to keep classified secret.”
The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and the Guardian published accounts from the classified State Department cables — more than 250,000 documents spanning more than 45 years – some of which did not show our allies favorably.
French president Nicholas Sarkozy was called an “emperor with no clothes,” the prime minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, was referred to as an “alpha dog.” Also revealed by the New York Times was the promise of the president of Yemen to Gen. Petraeus that he would continue to cover up the United States’ role in a missile strike.
The greatest damage from these leaked cables will be our allies' lost of trust when dealing with the United States, Hoekstra told me.
“What many of these leaks talk about is they talk about the politics of getting to an agreement, whether it is moving Gitmo detainees, whether it is a strategy for confronting terrorism, sometimes politics gets to be pretty ugly,” Hoekstra said. “These releases show the art of getting to an agreement and moving a policy forward. These folks that we now deal with may now don’t have the trust that when they are dealing with the united States what’s done in secret will stay in secret.”
In a statement Assange said “if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what's going on behind the scenes."
So was there a degree of public service in the release of this information? Hoekstra said that isn’t up to Assange.
“It’s not his duty or his responsibility to provide this public service to the American people. This is, these are functions that need to be done by government, they need to be done by congress and the executive branch,” he said.
Watch my interview with Rep. Hoekstra here: