Tuesday, December 7, 2010

That's the embassy's job

Argentine politicians defended their leader's mental health, Bolivia denied its president had a tumor and Venezuela accused the United States of dividing the region, as WikiLeaks continued to rile Latin America with the release of some 251,000 confidential and secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

Among the disclosures this week are reports that Cuban spies have a direct line to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez -- often overshadowing Venezuela's own intelligence agency -- and that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires to delve into the psyche of Argentina's President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

. . . Delving into the personalities of foreign counterparts may be integral to modern diplomatic give-and-take. But the bluntly worded cable asking about the Argentine leader's "nerves" and "emotions" may further test up-and-down relations between Washington and Buenos Aires.


Why are people surprised that our embassies gather raw intelligence, including often speculative rumors and gossip? That's their job.

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