US Embassy Cables:

US forced to shake up embassies around the world after WikiLeaks revelations

Battered by a scandal which seems to provide a fresh wave of embarrassment with each passing day, the US government is being forced to undertake a major reshuffle of the embassy staff, military personnel and intelligence operatives whose work has been laid bare by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

The Obama administration was yesterday facing a crisis in its diplomatic service, amid growing evidence that the ongoing publication of a tranche of supposedly-confidential communiqués will make normal work difficult, if not dangerous, for important State Department employees across the world.

A mere 1,100 of the roughly 250,000 secret documents obtained by the website have so far been published, leading to fears that the unhelpful revelations will continue for months to come, destabilising US relations with almost all of its key allies and inflaming tensions with already-hostile governments in the Middle East and beyond. "In the short run, we're almost out of business," a senior US diplomat told the Reuters news agency, saying it could take five years to rebuild trust. "It is really, really bad. I cannot exaggerate it. In all honesty, nobody wants to talk to us ... Some people still have to, particularly (in) government but ... they are already asking us things like, 'Are you going to write about this?'"

The Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department are reported to be identifying which members of staff have been named as the authors of the most unhelpful memos to have been published by WikiLeaks. They will need to be removed from what are among America's most strategically-important postings.

Among those whose private thoughts have been embarrassingly revealed is Gene Cretz, the US ambassador to Libya who wrote a now-notorious cable to Washington in 2009 noting that that the country's leader Muammar Gaddafi never travels without his "voluptuous blonde" Ukranian nurse.

America's current envoy to the United Nations has also been criticised following the revelation that Hillary Clinton instructed them to procure credit card and frequent flyer numbers, mobile phone numbers, email addresses, passwords and other data from foreign diplomats and top UN officials, including the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The difficulty regarding the future of America's diplomatic service is the fact that the authors of many of the most important emails in the WikiLeaks tranche are among their most-experienced senior staff, and will therefore be tough, if not impossible, to replace. None of the countries that were affected by the WikiLeaks cables had requested the withdrawal of any American diplomatic staff.

"That's another part of the tragedy of this," a senior US national-security official told The Daily Beast website, which yesterday detailed the extent of the crisis on the ground and claimed that the reassignment of affected diplomats had already been planned and would take place in the coming months.

"We're going to have to pull out some of our best people – the diplomats who best represented the United States and were the most thoughtful in their analysis – because they dared to report back the truth about the nations in which they serve."

Among the foreign governments to have already expressed outrage about the contents of some of the files are those of supposed allies like France, Italy and Turkey, whose Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to sue the former US Ambassador Eric Edelman over a memo he wrote suggesting that Erdogan had hidden wealth in Swiss bank accounts.

Old enemies of the US are also upset. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was described in one memo as playing Robin to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's Batman. Cuba and Venezuela were branded an "Axis of Mischief" in a document released at the weekend.

When the first cables were made public, the White House condemned the release saying it "put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the US for assistance in promoting democracy and open government".

Although there have yet to be formal moves to oust the diplomats responsible for the most awkward memos so far revealed, foreign governments are expected to soon begin "PNG-ing" US diplomats, a practice which involves demanding the removal of an official by branding them "persona non grata".

"We think it's only a matter of time, though," one State Department official told The Daily Beast. Diplomatic sources told The Independent that there no immediate plans to move staff because that would suggest they had done something wrong and damage confidence.

Tensions with Arab states

The latest leaked memos reveal that Hillary Clinton criticised the Saudi government, saying the country was the world's largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups but that its politicians were reluctant to stem the flow of money. In the memo, dated December 2009, she told US diplomats that "Riyadh has taken only limited action" to interrupt the flow of money to the Taliban and groups launching attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. She added that Hamas raised millions in Saudi, often from Hajj and Ramadan pilgrims. The note also highlighted Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE as sources of militant money and singled Qatar out as "the worst in the region" for not co-operating with Washington.

Suggested Topics
News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
News
i100
Life and Style
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits