'Wikileaks revelation caused less 'real, lasting' damage to American diplomacy'

Washington, Jan 19 (ANI): The "embarrassing" act of releasing US secret diplomatic cables by the whistleblower website 'Website' has caused less real and lasting damage to American diplomacy, state department officials have said.

The claim is a contrast to the statements made by the White House and the US government, which had condemned the act vehemently and sought to bring its founder, Julian Assange, to trial in Washington.

The Guardian quoted a congressional official as saying that the administration was compelled to publicly admit that the revelations had seriously damaged American interests with an intention of putting legal pressure to shut down Wikileaks and bring charges against the leakers.

"I think they want to present the toughest front they can muster," the official said, adding that the revelations led to development of bad public relations, but had little concrete impact on policy.

"We were told it was embarrassing, not damaging," the official added.

US officials, however, say that continued media attention on revelations has orsened Washington's relations with governments critical to its counter-terrorism operations, like Pakistan and Yemen.

In November last year, the secretary of state Hillary Clinton had strongly condemned the leak of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, saying that it had threatened national security and endangered people's lives in that country.

"It undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems. We are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information," she added.

Earlier this month Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens had claimed that he believed Swedish officials were cooperating with US authorities to extradite Assange as soon as the Americans have built a criminal case against him. (ANI)

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