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Individual cables not US' statement of policy: State Dept

Stung by the release of confidential documents by a whistleblower site, the US today said cables documents are not its statement of policy, but only an interpretation of information and interpretation of the events.

world Updated: Dec 03, 2010 10:52 IST

Stung by the release of confidential documents by a whistleblower site, the US on Friday said cables documents are not its statement of policy, but only an interpretation of information and interpretation of the events.

"A particular cable is not a statement of policy. A particular cable is an interpretation of information or reporting of information and interpretation of events," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters at his daily news conference, which was dominated by the Wikileaks expose.

He said the cables do not necessarily have to meet a certain legal standard.

"It is an ambassador reporting on developments or information in their day-to-day conduct of their duties, which informs policy formulation back here. I think it is a very important point," Crowley said.

He was responding to questions on media reporting about the cables leaked by WikiLeaks.

"These cables may interpret events as they are unfolding with the best judgment of the ambassador and other key leaders at that post. Events evolve, more information comes to light, an activity tomorrow will change a reality that has been interpreted today," he said.

"That is the danger of taking any one cable out of 250,000 and saying, 'This is what the United States thinks'."

He said the views and comments in a cable might have been what an ambassador reported as his or her best judgment at a particular time sifting through and interpreting information just as journalists do the same thing every day.

"These are digests that help us understand what is going on in a particular country on a particular day. That reality does, in fact, change over time. So this is what we we are trying to explain to governments and people in our various contacts and conversations," he argued.

"A cable is one ambassador's or one post's view of the world from that vantage point. We put that information together with other information that is available through other sources, and through that synthesis we think we have a more accurate picture of what is happening, and that picture
then in turn forms our polices," Crowley said.

Crowley said he is not disavowing the excellent work done by ambassadors, counselors at posts.

"These are hardworking people, and they try to give policymakers here in Washington their best possible perspective of what is happening in this particular country or in this particular province of a particular country," he noted.

He said it is not necessary that every bit of information there is necessarily totally accurate.

"It is a digest of information that is available, and from that information we formulate policy based on a variety of vantage points, a broad range of information, and our national interests," Crowley said.