Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 14:42 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 14:42 | SYDNEY

WikiLeaks: Facebook for mandarins


Fergus Hanson


14 December 2010 12:00

A future Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs'

So far, the reporting on WikiLeaks' cables has, naturally, focused on what world leaders have said behind closed doors. But what about all those senior bureaucrats who diplomats also speak to'

When I joined the Australian foreign ministry, then Foreign Minister Alexander Downer impressed/freaked out new grads by repeating slightly embarrassing things we had said/written/done, stuff that he (or more probably his staff) had discovered via Google. And at a conference I attended, one of Australia's leading intelligence chiefs worried aloud that his children might one day regret documenting their youthful follies on Facebook for future employers to judge them by.

Which brings me to Wikileaks.

So far it is only Philip Dorling at the SMH who has the hundreds of cables sent from US missions in Australia, and up to now, he has detailed comments from only the odd public official. Given WikiLeaks has only released around 1300 of its quarter-million diplomatic cables, you have to assume there will be a lot more to come.

It is easy to imagine the cables are full of private comments from mid- and senior-ranking officials, perhaps letting off steam about a minister or government policy. For the rest of their careers these personal views are going to be easily searchable online, making it pretty straight-forward for politicians to box them in when it comes to high-level appointments.

Is Wikileaks going to be the drunken photo on Facebook our senior mandarins never had'

Photo by Flickr user Raul!.