Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly condemned "those responsible" and warned that retribution was coming over Wikileak's publication of a quarter of a million leaked documents from United States embassies around the world.
She also said that the State Department was increasing its security measures to safeguard its documents.
"The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information ... This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity," Clinton said. "I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information. I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department, in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defense and elsewhere to protect State Department information."
The WikiLeaks site explains that on Sunday, November 28, 2010, WikiLeaks "began publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into the US Government's foreign activities."
Red: Secret Orange: Confidential Green: Unclassified
Cables by Country of Origin - Source: Wikileaks.org
The cables date from 1966 to February, 2010, and contain "confidential communications" between 274 embassies and the State Department in Washington DC. "15,652 of the cables are classified Secret," WikiLeaks said.
Clinton apologized to the world's diplomats for the public exposure of documents that were "intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations."
Clinton says that U.S. policy, which is set in Washington, is a matter of public record, even though specific documents are not. The New York Times reported that one of the leaked cables reveals information into the famed attack on Google and other U.S. companies by Chinese hackers last December. The cable linked China’s political leaders to the ‘Operation Aurora’ cyber-attacks.
WikiLeaks is on a roll with this latest disclosure. On October 22, it released nearly 400, 000 documents (known as 'The Iraq War Logs'), that tell the story of the war in Iraq from January 1, 2004, through December, 2009, as told by soldiers in the United States Army. It released similar documents on the war in Afghanistan.Here is Clinton's speech in its entirety.