The New York Times made sure the Hillary Clinton State Department had plenty of advance warning before a damaging “Cablegate” dump was released by Wikileaks.
The timeline of the Cablegate stories publication went beyond time for redaction requests and granted the State Department ample time to do damage control.
After news reports alleged the Trump campaign knew as early May 2016 that Wikileaks was coordinating with the Russian government to sabotage Hillary Clinton, Wikileaks released the following email on New Year’s Eve:
Email shows New York Times handed over Cablegate’s publication schedule to the US government (without telling @WikiLeaks) giving the State Department, then headed by Hillary Clinton, up to 9 days in advance to spin the revelations or create diversions. https://t.co/IMrDOwoCd2 pic.twitter.com/CT4XkEs8Mc
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 31, 2017
Wikileaks stated via Twitter:
Email shows New York Times handed over Cablegate’s publication schedule to the US government (without telling @WikiLeaks) giving the State Department, then headed by Hillary Clinton, up to 9 days in advance to spin the revelations or create diversions.
The email is reproduced below:
The November 28 email provides a timeline from Wednesday to Sunday about feature stories the Times was planning to publish.
On Nov. 28, the Times published an overview of the Wikileaks cables:
The 251,287 cables, first acquired by WikiLeaks, were provided to The Times by an intermediary on the condition of anonymity. Many are unclassified, and none are marked “top secret,” the government’s most secure communications status. But some 11,000 are classified “secret,” 9,000 are labeled “noforn,” shorthand for material considered too delicate to be shared with any foreign government, and 4,000 are designated both secret and noforn.
The Times also explained that it was redacting various names it claimed were sensitive:
Many more cables name diplomats’ confidential sources, from foreign legislators and military officers to human rights activists and journalists, often with a warning to Washington: “Please protect” or “Strictly protect.”
The Times, after consultations with the State Department, has withheld from articles and removed from documents it is posting online the names of some people who spoke privately to diplomats and might be at risk if they were publicly identified. The Times is also withholding some passages or entire cables whose disclosure could compromise American intelligence efforts. While the White House said it anticipated WikiLeaks would make public “several hundred thousand” cables Sunday night, the organization posted only 220 released and redacted by The Times and several European publications.
Reporter Scott Shane of the New York Times rejected that such advance warning to the State Dept. was unusual:
.This is nonsense. Check with the WikiLeaks volunteers who worked on this project. You’ll learn WL created an online redaction engine so we could take out names of those who might be imprisoned or worse from cables we published. WL agreed on the consultation with State Dept.
— Scott Shane (@ScottShaneNYT) December 31, 2017
While Wikileaks counter-argued that the Times’ account was not entirely accurate:
WikiLeaks agreed to pose questions to US govt 48h prior to publication. NYT pushed for 4 days (WikiLeaks objected). The email shows the NYT betraying the entire day by day thematic publication plan to Secretary Clinton’s spokesman PJ Crowley — not asking questions.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 1, 2018
Shane argued that this coordination worked well to protect confidential identities:
.Wrong. By agreement of all media partners, we talked at length to State Dept each day about cables involving a particular country. They lined up country specialists. It worked well. WikiLeaks helped organize the redactions to protect people who might be harmed if named.
— Scott Shane (@ScottShaneNYT) January 2, 2018
One confidential identity in the Clinton State Department whose name has surfaced in the news is former top aide Huma Abedin. The State Department, upon FOIA request from Judicial Watch, released emails that were seized on her convicted husband Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
As Fox News reported, one email from Huma Abedin to Hillary Clinton, on her private non-official server “clintonemail.com,” provided a “callsheet” warning that the Wikileaks release of the diplomatic cables was forthcoming. It was sent November 25, 2010:
The previously classified Abedin email contains partial redaction. It makes various statements regarding Wikileaks in advance of Clinton’s call with Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Saud al Faisal:
“Wikileaks: I deeply regret the likely upcoming Wikileaks disclosure (which could come as early as November 26)
This appears to be the result of an illegal act in which a fully cleared intelligence officer stole information and gave it to a website. The person responsible will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We have taken aggressive measures […]
This is the kind of sensitive information we fear may be released: details of private conversations with your government on Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan
I seek your help in preventing Wikileaks from undermining our mutual national interests. The President and I are committed to deepening our bilateral relationship.”
The November 28, 2010 New York Times report had the following to say about Saudi Arabia:
Mixed records against terrorism: Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda, and the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a generous host to the American military for years, was the “worst in the region” in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable last December. Qatar’s security service was “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals,” the cable said.
Huma Abedin has garnered recent attention for her forwarding of sensitive and classified emails via her Yahoo! account. A State Department inspector general report would find that the clintonemail.com domain enabled Internet printing, an explosive twist that one security expert called a “not-so-bright idea.” As former FBI Director James Comey stated, Abedin is believed to have forwarded emails to her now-estranged husband to print out at home.
One Russian “state sponsored actor,” intelligence agent Igor Sushchin, is believed to have hacked her emails. Sushkin is tied to Renaissance Capitol, the firm that organized payment of $500,000 to former President Bill Clinton for a Clinton Foundation speech.
President Donald Trump recently responded to the revelations about Abedin:
Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
In a media environment that is obsessed with speculation about “collusion,” it appears from such reports that the real collusion is actually between the U.S. media and the Democratic Party.
This article was updated after publication.
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