Charles Krauthammer has best captured Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response to the WikiLinks fiasco:
[T]his makes us look bad, very bad. But not in the way Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implied in her cringe-inducing apology speech in which she scolded these awful leakers for having done a disservice to “the international community,” and plaintively deplored how this hampers U.S. attempts to bring about a better world.
She sounded like a cross between an exasperated school principal and a Miss America contestant professing world peace to be her fondest wish. The problem is not that the purloined cables exposed U.S. hypocrisy or double-dealing. Good God, that’s the essence of diplomacy. That’s what we do; that’s what everyone does. Hence the famous aphorism that a diplomat is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country.
What is bad for the United States, Krauthammer notes, is that the leaks have exposed a pitiable superpower unable to protect its secrets. Attorney General Holder has belatedly assured the country that the Justice Department is looking into legal action.
Want to prevent this from happening again? Let the world see a man who can’t sleep in the same bed on consecutive nights, who fears the long arm of American justice. I’m not advocating that we bring out of retirement the KGB proxy who, on a London street, killed a Bulgarian dissident with a poisoned umbrella tip. But it would be nice if people like Assange were made to worry every time they go out in the rain.
It could be that one reason the administration’s response has been less than aggressive is that elements of its base regard Julian Assange of WikiLeaks as a whistleblower in the tradition of the lionized Daniel Ellsberg who delivered the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.