Jim Cain, a former U.S. ambassador to Denmark, said the large number of classified cables from his embassy that will likely be exposed by WikiLeaks will be embarrassing, but will ultimately not damaging to the country.
Cain, a Raleigh attorney who was ambassador from 2005 to 2009, said he has been told by Danish journalists that at least 270 cables from the American embassy are likely to be made public in the coming days and weeks by WikiLeaks.
“It's all embarrassing to America that we can't maintain our own secrets,” Cain said. “But in our cables we don't gossip. But it's the sort of thing you say at your kitchen table you don't necessarily want your friends and neighbors hearing about it.”
He said the cables from Copenhagen to Washington dealt with sensitive subjects as Denmark's role in Iraq and Afghanistan, five terror plots uncovered in Denmark during his time there, a national Danish election in 2007, the UN climate conference, and U.S. efforts to line up votes to confirm their prime minister as NATO's secretary-general.
“Those are the kinds of things you talked about in cables,” Cain said. “You talked about policies, strategies, personalities. They tended to be honest and candid – and classified.”
He said most of the cable chatter would be of interest to the Danish media, rather than the U.S. media.
While the damage to U.S.-Danish relations will be limited, Cain said such leaks are much more dangerous in the world's hot spots.
“When you think about the cables that come from places like Pakistan and Afghanistan or other places, there will be, if they are disclosed, identifies revealed, that will endanger those individuals,” Cain said. “That is high treason to me to disclose those national security (secrets)in a way that jeopardizes our national interests. That is traitorous. I hope our federal government prosecutes those responsible very vigorously.”