State Department limits access to files after massive leak


English.news.cn 2010-12-01 06:08:19
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) — The U.S. State Department on Tuesday said it has limited access to the database of its diplomatic cables following a massive leak of its secret files by WikiLeaks.

“We have temporarily severed the connection between this database and one classified network. Steps are being made to correct weaknesses in the system that have become evident because of this leak,” said department spokesman Philip Crowley.

WikiLeaks, a whistle-blower website, released on Sunday some 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. The files, including thousands of secret and confidential ones, revealed candid accounts by U.S. diplomats that sometimes are even mocking foreign leaders. The leak could prove to be one of the most embarrassing event of U.S. diplomacy.

“At the point where we believe the appropriate steps have been taken, then we’ll re-evaluate whether to reconnect this one network to the State Department database,” said Crowley, adding the cut was made in the past week.

It is reported that the database of the State Department’s diplomatic cables was formerly connected to U.S. military’s Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, known as SIPRNet. The secret internal computer network run by Pentagon connects various U.S. government agencies, allowing them to be able to share classified information.

The leaked documents also included a directive with State Secretary Hillary Clinton’s signature which ordered U.S. diplomats to collect personal information, such as credit card number, phone number and even DNA, from the United Nations officials.

But Crowley denied that U.S. diplomats are engaged in spying activities.

“Diplomats are diplomats. That is their job. Diplomats are not intelligent assets,” he said.

He insisted that the request in that particular document “came from outside the Department of State.”

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