The damage caused by the WikiLeaks controversy has caused little real and lasting damage to American diplomacy, senior state department officials have concluded.
It emerged in private briefings to Congress by top diplomats that the fallout from the release of thousands of private diplomatic cables from all over the globe has not been especially bad.
This is in direct opposition to the official stance of the White House and the US government which has been vocal in condemning the whistle-blowing organisation and seeking to bring its founder, Julian Assange, to trial in the US.
A congressional official briefed on the reviews told Reuters news agency that the administration felt compelled to say publicly that the revelations had seriously damaged American interests in order to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers. “I think they want to present the toughest front they can muster,” the official said.
The official implied that the WikiLeaks fiasco was bad public relations but had little concrete impact on policy.
“We were told [it] was embarrassing, not damaging,” the official added.
It appears that damage was localised in terms of a few specific cables, for example about Yemen, and thus expected to be containable in the long-run.