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'Le Monde' Publishes Latest WikiLeaks Release

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'Le Monde' Publishes Latest WikiLeaks Release

National Security

'Le Monde' Publishes Latest WikiLeaks Release

'Le Monde' Publishes Latest WikiLeaks Release

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/131660831/131660816" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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With its release of 250,000 million U.S. diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks has expanded dramatically its efforts to reveal information. The cables range from embarrassing to the potentially dangerous. Sylvie Kauffmann, editor-in-chief of the French newspaper Le Monde, talks to Renee Montagne about reaction to the cables' release.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

With its release of a quarter of a million diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks has expanded dramatically its efforts to reveal information that the U.S. and many other countries would prefer to keep secret.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

These cables are actually letters or reports - cables is a term from the days when these were telegrams sent around the world. They range from the embarrassing to the potentially dangerous. They include candid descriptions -referring to Germany's leader as Angela "Teflon" Merkel.

MONTAGNE: For instance. And also, the U.S. offering deals to countries for taking released Guantanamo prisoners. Slovenia was offered a meeting with President Obama. And an alarming standoff with Pakistan is also revealed. That standoff was over its nuclear fuel.

INSKEEP: As it has in the past, WikiLeaks provided these documents in advance to several international newspapers, among them the New York Times, Britain's Guardian and France's Le Monde.

MONTAGNE: Sylvie Kauffmann is editor-in-chief of Le Monde, and joined us from Paris.

Thank you for being with us.

Ms. SYLVIE KAUFFMANN (Editor-in-Chief, Le Monde): Thank you.

MONTAGNE: What single thing out of this huge cache of information struck you as the most startling?

Ms. KAUFFMANN: I'm not sure we can say there is one, single thing because, of course, there's such a huge number of documents. I think maybe what strikes us most is the way, for us - as seen from Paris - is the way the Americans see the world, and how they conduct their diplomacy. But of course, we bear in mind that this is not the whole thing - even though it's enormous, an enormous amount of documents.

But there are no top-secret documents. There are no intelligence documents. There are no military documents related to each event which is mentioned in those cables. So this is, of course, a partial view, but it is still quite interesting for us.

MONTAGNE: One of Le Monde's articles today focuses on the concerns that leaders in Arab countries have about Iran and, in particular, Iran's nuclear ambitions. How strong is this concern? Are there - is there an example you can give us of that?

Ms. KAUFFMANN: Yes. It is so strong that, for instance, we are told, for instance, that the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, has a visceral hatred for the Islamic Republic. This is in one of the cables. We have the king of Saudi Arabia expressing very, very strong views, also, about the means that could be used to warn the Iranians.

So you can see that this is a very, very high level of concern and distrust and even hatred among the Arab countries.

MONTAGNE: There are revelations about American diplomats being asked to provide personal information about United Nations officials. Do you have details about that?

Ms. KAUFFMANN: Yes. We are publishing this story, also, today. This is, of course, quite surprising because in any government, you have intelligence officials working abroad, and then you have diplomats. And diplomats are not supposed to conduct intelligence operations. So these instructions given to American diplomats - to provide personal informations about their sources - is quite surprising.

MONTAGNE: Sylvie Kauffmann is editor-in-chief of Le Monde, which published material from WikiLeaks today.

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