WikiLeaks Diplomatic Cables FOIA Documents

In June 2011, the ACLU filed suit against the State Department to enforce a FOIA request seeking 23 embassy cables previously disclosed by WikiLeaks. The agency released redacted versions of 11 and withheld the other 12 in full. Learn more »

The five excerpts below show the government’s selective and self-serving decisions to withhold information. Because the leaked versions of these cables have already been widely distributed, the redacted releases provide unique insight into the government’s selective decisions to hide information from the American public.

Place your mouse over the redacted sections to see what the government is hiding. Scroll to the bottom of the page to access redacted versions of all 11 cables released by the government and links to the full cables published by WikiLeaks.

05THEHAGUE1876

In the document above, the government discloses discussions that paint the United States in a positive light while withholding embarrassing critiques of American policy. In this cable from the U.S. embassy in The Hague, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot’s praise for U.S.-Dutch relations was released, but the details of Dutch disapproval of the handling of Guantánamo detainees remain classified as a matter of national security.


 
06THEHAGUE2282

In the document above, the government selectively reveals points of agreement with foreign officials while hiding opinions critical of the U.S. In another cable from the U.S. embassy in The Hague, an entire paragraph relating to “Detainees/ Guantánamo” is redacted, including publicly-available information about Dutch condemnation of secret CIA prisons. But diplomatic opinions about concern over North Korea and Iran—areas of agreement with the United States—were released. (The abbreviation “GONL” refers to the Government of the Netherlands).


 
06BERN141

In the document above, the government withholds publicly-available information about discredited programs. A cable from the U.S. embassy in Bern hides Swiss disapproval of rendition flights as well as Italian allegations against CIA agents for the kidnapping of Abu Omar in Milan, both of which were widely reported and on the public record.


 
06LISBON2365

In the document above, the government withholds descriptions of obvious public opinion and foreign law. In this cable from the U.S. embassy in Lisbon, the government redacted description of backlash in Portugal against allowing the U.S. to use Portuguese airspace when transporting Guantanamo detainees back to their countries of origin. The government seems to be trying to hide the unsurprising insight that past illegal actions by the U.S.—specifically, the government’s rendition and black-site prison program—continue to complicate the United States’ relationships with foreign governments. (The abbreviation “GOP” refers to the Government of Portugal).


 
08LONDON2651

In the document above, the government selectively withholds widely-known information about politically sensitive policies. In this cable from the U.S. embassy in London, the government redacted an entire paragraph about the U.S. government’s use of Predator drones to kill people on Pakistani soil. While U.S. officials routinely endorse the use of Predator drones off the record, they continue to formally deny the United States’ role in drone attacks. However, information about the use of drones in Pakistan has received sustained and widespread coverage in the press.

 

 

LEARN MORE:
ACLU v. Department of State: WikiLeaks FOIA
April 12, 2011 FOIA Request
June 9, 2011 Complaint
October 21, 2011 Response from State Department

 

Cable ID
Full Text Released by WikiLeaks
Cables Released to the ACLU by State Department
07MADRID1805
Withheld in full
09MADRID347
09MADRID392
09MADRID440
09TUNIS415
Withheld in full
07TRIPOLI943
Withheld in full
08OTTAWA918
Withheld in full
10LUXEMBOURG5
05PARIS3118
05PARIS1699
08LONDON1412
Withheld in full
06DUBLIN1020
Withheld in full
06LISBON2365
10SANAA4
Withheld in full
08LONDON2651
09RIYADH670
Withheld in full
06BERN141
06BERN1804
Withheld in full
10ROME174
Withheld in full
05THEHAGUE1876
06THEHAGUE2282
07BERLIN242
Withheld in full
08ISLAMABAD3586
Withheld in full