Robert Booth and Haroon Siddique
The Guardian
December 5, 2010

Shortly before 6.30pm on Sunday night, the first cracks appeared in the dam. The largest ever leak of US government classified documents streamed out online, revealing never publicly seen details about Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan and Russia.

Throughout the week the stream became a torrent of information about how US diplomats and foreign governments see the world. According to these classified cables, Saudi Arabia wanted Washington to bomb Iran, the UK harbours “deep concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons”, and Russia is considered a “virtual mafia state” with its president, Vladimir Putin, accused of amassing “illicit proceeds” from his time in office.

But perhaps most embarrassing for Hillary Clinton who, as US secretary of state, is ultimately responsible for the content of most of the cables released so far, was a cable that revealed Washington is running a spying campaign targeted at the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the rest of the UN leadership, as well as the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.

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