By Frank Moher
Early pickings for Canadians eager to find out what U.S. diplomats think of us, thanks to WikiLeaks’ latest release of documents, labelled “cablegate,” have been slim to none. Make that none. [Editor’s note: See update here.]
So far, just 220 of 251,287 files have been released, and none feature the American ambassador calling Jean Chretien or Stephen Harper a douchebag, or anything else likely to titillate Ottawa. That could change. According to a datasheet released by WikiLeaks, some 2,648 cables concerning Canada are forthcoming, slightly more than those concerning Kazakhstan (2,418) but rather less than the 15,365 regarding Iraq. But WikiLeaks now says the full store of documents will be released over a period of months, because “The subject matter of these cables is of such importance, and the geographical spread so broad, that to do otherwise would not do this material justice.”
The Globe says the Canadian documents are “not expected to become public until sometime this week.” I expect it’ll take a lot longer than that to see them all.
Meanwhile, what is in the documents that have been released so far? Well, the Obama administration instructed its embassies to start gathering enhanced information on foreign dignitaries, including “Internet and intranet ‘handles,’ Internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs, credit card account numbers, frequent flyer account numbers, work schedules and other relevant biographical information,” as well as their views on various global issues. “Obama ordered diplomats to spy on Canada” trumpets the Ottawa Sun. Well, yes, us and everyone else. That bit about credit card numbers is interesting; otherwise, I’m not sure getting somebody’s Twitter name exactly counts as “spying.”
For other juicy details, the Times is on the case.