US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Harpers Bazaar, tells how the release of embassy cables by WikiLeaks embarrassed the US Government but also claims it caused "serious damage" by putting human rights advocates and whistleblowers at risk.
The magazine quotes Clinton saying: "I told somebody, 'You know how rock groups go on these global tours? I should have a jacket that says THE APOLOGY TOUR because everywhere I go, I'm apologizing for any embarrassment',"
Clinton says WikiLeaks "just added multiple additional layers of responsibility and outreach. The diplomats were doing their jobs. You get unvarnished opinions, but they are just opinions. They are not policy, and they should not be in any way confused with policy. But some of the judgments made, the opinions that were offered, were embarrassing to people."
She continues, "Then there were people who said, 'How can I ever have a candid conversation with you again if these things are going to be reported?' Which were never meant to be exposed until maybe 50 years from now. So we've had to really work hard to maintain that candor that is critical to diplomacy."
The real danger of WikiLeaks, Clinton argues, is "a third category where, because of what was exposed, people are physically at risk. They are sources for us, they are human-rights advocates, they are whistle-blowers around the world. So that's been the most long-lasting damage, and it's serious damage."