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Harvard Professor Has Mixed Feelings About WikiLeaks

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV
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Joseph Nye (CBS)

Joseph Nye (CBS)

BOSTON (CBS) — On the WikiLeaks website, it shows that 243 of the 251,287 private cables have been made public so far. They come from embassies all over the globe, most are post-9/11, and 15,000 of them are considered secret.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent the weekend calling world leaders and apologizing for their release. “The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with countries to solve shared problems.”

One of the most recent secret transmissions last January came from the Secretary of State’s office. It warned Chinese leaders that Iran would be receiving parts for missiles in February.

In another cable, the drug enforcement agency is trying to figure out why the vice president of Afghanistan is traveling internationally with suitcases, carrying $52 million in cash.

Former diplomat Joseph Nye is a professor with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Despite the public’s right to know, he says some foreign leaders, like the president of Yemen, must be very angry.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports.

In a cable last January, he admitted he lied to his own Parliament to cover up the U.S. government’s role in missile strikes against Al Qaeda.

“I think it makes our job harder,” Nye said. “If you are a foreign leader and you want to help the Americans but you think… ‘If I say I am helping you and its gets out in WikiLeaks and embarrasses you at home,’ you are going to more cautious in helping the Americans.”

An army private is under arrest for downloading the encrypted cables and delivering them to WikiLeaks.

Professor Nye says the U.S. government is now re-thinking who in the future will have access to these private government-to-government transmissions.

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