State Department Anxious About Diplomatic Secrets Bradley Manning Allegedly Downloaded

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The State Department’s Worst Nightmare

* By Philip Shenon The Daily Beast *

The State Department and American embassies around the world are bracing for what officials fear could be the massive, unauthorized release of secret diplomatic cables in which U.S. diplomats harshly evaluate foreign leaders and reveal the inner-workings of American foreign policy.

Diplomatic and law-enforcement officials tell the Daily Beast their alarm stems from the arrest of a 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst based in Iraq who has reportedly admitted that he downloaded 260,000 diplomatic cables from government computer networks and was prepared to make them public.

“If he really had access to these cables, we’ve got a terrible situation on our hands,” said an American diplomat.

Specialist Bradley Manning of Potomac, Md., who is now under arrest in Kuwait, is also accused of having leaked—to Wikileaks, a secretive internet site based in Sweden—an explosive video of an American helicopter attack in Baghdad in 2007 that left 12 people dead, including two employees of the news agency Reuters. The website released the video in April.

“If he really had access to these cables, we’ve got a terrible situation on our hands,” said an American diplomat. “We’re still trying to figure out what he had access to. A lot of my colleagues overseas are sweating this out, given what those cables may contain.”

Read more at The Daily Beast

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