Kerry changes tack on WikiLeaks documents
Sen. John Kerry, whose windsurfing came to symbolize what critics derided as his tendency to heed the politics of the moment, has trimmed his sails over the significance of the recent leak of some 92,000 U.S. military documents on the Afghan war.
On Sunday evening, as news broke of the disclosure -- the documents were provided to The New York Times and others by the organization WikiLeaks -- Kerry rushed into the fray:
Statement By Chairman Kerry On Leaked Documents On Afghanistan And Pakistan
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement this evening in response to the New York Times story on the leak of classified documents concerning Afghanistan and Pakistan:
"However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America's policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent."
Today, Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, struck a more nuanced tone. "I think it's important not to over-hype or get excessively excited about the meaning of those documents," Kerry said at the start of a committee hearing on prospects for negotiating an end to the Afghan war.
He said the release was unlawful and could potentially endanger U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But he also said the secret documents should be given little weight because in many cases they reflect raw intelligence, not carefully calibrated assessments of trends on the ground. Some of the documents, Kerry said, are "completely dismissible," but others are not.
Queried about the shift, Kerry spokesman Frederick Jones explained that "all we had before us [on Sunday] was the New York Times piece," which highlighted the cooperation between the Pakistani intelligence service known as the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Taliban.
Kerry "was initially very concerned about the links. That's an issue the senator has spoken about in the past and addressed directly with principals in Pakistan and here," Jones said. "But as he and the staff had a chance to examine the records more closely it became clear that they did not cover the most recent time period." In fact, they dealt with the period before December 2009 when Obama announced his new Afghanistan strategy and before the Pakistan military embarked on its offensive against domestic insurgents.
"These facts lessened the significance of the documents in the senator's eyes," he said.
But - Jones added - "he still believes the documents are important and to the extent they raise questions about whether ... reliance [on Pakistan as an ally] is misplaced, they remain very important as we frame our ongoing mission."
Posted by: 27081 | July 27, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: frak | July 27, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mwhoke | July 27, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: adamnescot1 | July 27, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sperrico | July 27, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: PeterLarson | July 27, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: 12thgenamerican | July 27, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: johnsonmarc51 | July 28, 2010 2:13 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: basundi44 | August 1, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.