U.S. Must Safeguard Secret Diplomacy, Robert Baer Writes in FT

The damage caused to U.S. credibility and diplomacy by the leaking of 250,000 cables to the WikiLeaks website is “incalculable,” said Robert Baer, a former case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Writing in the Financial Times, Baer said the State Department’s credibility as a reliable interlocutor has evaporated for a long time.

Friendly governments have to be reassured that the U.S. can keep secrets, “especially those that are vital to their survival,” he said.

One answer might be for the president to return to an older style of diplomacy and use half a dozen special representatives to convey messages to and from the White House, he said, adding that they should be known to the president and be able to bypass the State Department and the Defense Department.

“If one day we really do need to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites,” and require clearance to use Arab countries’ air space, secrecy will be essential, Baer wrote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Purkiss in London on apurkiss@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge in London at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.

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