Don’t Mention the WikiLeaks: State Dept. Employee Details Interrogation

Accused of 'Disclosing Classified Information' for Noting WikiLeaks Docs

The Obama Administration has been warning government employees for awhile that they faced punishment for reading the WikiLeaks documents, but were they serious? As one State Department employee reports, they apparently were.

In a report released via yesterday, Peter Van Buren reports that he was “interrogated” by State Department officials and accused of “disclosing classified information.” He must’ve really done something bad for an allegation like that, right?

Not really… the beginning and the end of the “crime” committed by Van Buren was posting a blog entry linking to a WikiLeaks cable from 2009 about Sens. John McCain (R – AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R – SC) urging the US to help provide for Moammar Gadhafi’s security in Libya.

Not exactly earth-shattering, particularly since the cables were already released by WikiLeaks and were a matter of public knowledge. The Obama Administration has claimed, however, that even though the cables are available to the entire planet they’re still classified and therefore “off limits.”

What will ultimately come of the Van Buren investigation remains to be seen, though the interrogators did threaten him with criminal charges. Is this just a move to intimidate government employees, or will the administration start trying to toss government employees in prison for blogging about WikiLeaks?

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.