NPR logo WikiLeaks' Impact On Foreign Policy 'Fairly Modest,' Gates Says


WikiLeaks' Impact On Foreign Policy 'Fairly Modest,' Gates Says

"Every government in the world knows the U.S. government leaks like a sieve," Defense Secretary Robert Gates just told reporters at the Pentagon.

And the latest revelations from about what U.S. diplomats and intelligence operatives have said in previously secret cables about other leaders and other governments, will have only a "fairly modest" impact on U.S. foreign policy, he predicted.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

"I've heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a 'meltdown' ... as a 'game-changer,' " Gates said. Such language, he said, is "significantly overwrought."

Foreign governments "deal with the United States because it's in their interest ... not because they like us, not because they trust us and not because they believe we can keep secrets," added Gates, who once ran the CIA.

Just yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the leaks are "an attack on America — it's an attack on the international community." And, she said, they "tear at the fabric" of responsible government.