WikiLeaks has dropped a bombshell cache of US diplomatic cables, ripping the cloak off scores of secret deals – including clandestine North Korean support for Iran and the Obama administration’s failed attempt to remove nuclear material from Pakistan.
The disclosures – more than a quarter-million candid, back-channel cables that include brutal candid assessments of world leaders and previous undisclosed details of nuclear and antiterrorism activity – represent the most embarrassing and potentially damaging disclosure of American diplomatic material in decades.
Among the most important revelations:
—North Korea, currently embroiled in a knife’s edge confrontation with South Korea and the United States, was able to smuggle 19 advanced, Russian-designed missiles, capable of delivering nuclear payloads, to Iran, according to a Feb. 24, 2010, cable detailing a meeting between Russian officials and a State Department nonproliferation expert. The shipment of some R-27 components was widely known in intelligence circles, but the WikiLeaks disclosures represent the first confirmation that Iran now possesses complete missile systems.
—In May 2009, Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, reported that Pakistani officials were blocking an American attempt to remove fissile material from a reactor in the country for fear the effort would leak the local press.
—A Chinese contact tipped off the U.S. embassy in Beijing that China’s Politburo OK'd a huge effort to hack and eavesdrop on Google computers as part of a nearly decade-long cyber-sabotage effort aimed at American companies and supporters of the Dalai Lama. (Full story here)