back to article WikiLeaks' secrets weren't, says former MI5 chief

WikiLeaks' revelations of the “secrets” of global diplomacy weren't that secret, says Dame Stella Rimington, novelist and former Director general of MI5. Speaking in Australia, where she today delivered an address to the International Council on Archives conference , Rimington told The Reg that one of the issues public sector …


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        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Please Note Especially to Remember and Never Ever Forget for They Always Will and Do ....

          Important pedant note - its not aManFromMars, it's aManFromMars1, a clone account who is nowhere near as entertaining as the sadly no longer posting original..... Tom 38 Posted Wednesday 22nd August 2012 12:39 GMT

          Crikey, Tom 38, you made a right balls up of that, and it wasn't as if you had a lot to do or think about, for it is neither of the spellings you have provided. Try cutting down on the sherry intake before lunch, there's a good chap, it doesn't agree with you.

          And re "sadly no longer posting original" would you expect anyone to post the same original stuff, day after day, year after year, or would it be wiser to expect it to change and morph into something else which a wider audience or smarter market place might freely enjoy and make fabulous fortunes from/with, based on original stuff?

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Please Note Especially to Remember and Never Ever Forget for They Always Will and Do ....

          Tom 38,

          A good point. I understood at least 2 sentences of his last post. Therefore, he must be an impostor!

        3. peyton?

          Re: Please Note Especially to Remember and Never Ever Forget for They Always Will and Do ....

          Tom, the "1" got added when El Reg made some change to their username policy. I used to be plain, ordinary peyton once.

  1. Flabbergarstedbastard

    Yeah but...

    The diplomatic cables may have been a bit lame but the whole Apache killing reuters journalists thing was a humdinger!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah but...

      Yes, the editing and editorialising they did on that video was excellent. The way they told everyone what to think while protesting that they were completely neutral was also breathtaking.

      1. 142
        Thumb Up

        Re: Yeah but...

        @Anon, 11:33: I've always felt the same somewhat similar that - it's always seemed suspicious..

        any links to any articles that give a wider context to that event?

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: Yeah but...

      "...... the whole Apache killing reuters journalists thing was a humdinger!" Maybe to those who were waiting to be told what to think the highly edited "Collateral Murder" vid was news, whereas those of us with a bit more of an ability to keep abreast of events had been aware of the Reuters request for the chopper vid footage under their Freedom of Information Act for quite a while before St Jules got involved. Indeed, to quote good ol' Wikipeadia, ".....Washington Post reporter David Finkel, who at the time was embedded with Bravo Company 2–16 Infantry, later covered the incidents of the day in his book, The Good Soldiers.....", that tome being published in 2009 and a year before St Jules even started decrypting and butchering the chopper footage. But don't feel too bad about being late to the party, apparently a lot of the sheeple were too.

  2. John Deeb

    not secret but threat to global stability nevertheless.

    What MI5 thinks is one thing but the US State Department claimed officially that releasing these not very secret secrets "endangered the lives of countless individuals". While the former General-Director might think there wasn't "anything significantly secret" released, and she might be right in some respect, the US Department of State accused wikileaks nevertheless of not only placing at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals but the lives "from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security". And even puts at risk "on-going military operations, including operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in human beings and illicit arms, violent criminal enterprises and other actors that threaten global security". So yes, this diplomatic chatter is now even a threat to global security!

    And if that's not enough this gossip database accessed by young soldiers contains information which apparently would "place at risk on-going cooperation between countries – partners, allies and common stakeholders – to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability."

    Now we all know Americans are masters of exaggeration but whatever is the case, it's one thing to suggest a few things in some interview looking back at your work from a retired position, but another thing to state things as Legal Adviser of the US State Department in a letter making such serious claims.

    So which definition of secret would be more relevant to inform your action or reaction, if you'd be involved? I think Julian Assange made the case already that secrecy has become the lifeblood of governmental operations at all levels and that this very same (warped sense) of secrecy and classification has damaged over the decades fundamentally the quality of communication, diplomacy and transparency of all things political. Or perhaps it's just the information overflow and gossipy nature of human beings. In either case it's not helping much.

  3. A J Stiles

    Well .....

    Everything a public servant says or does in their capacity as a public servant ought to be a matter of public record. If they so much as fart while they're on the clock, it's our business, and we have a right to know.

    After all, if they've nothing to hide ..... right ..... ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well .....

      I'm a public servant of a kind and I should like to put it on record that I have just farted. AC because my overlords think this might endanger public safety.

      1. Psyx

        Re: Well .....

        700 days in solitary suicide watch without trial for you, sunshine!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With such a large organisation as the US Military, the treatment of Bradley Manning serves as a warning to others in the military - not to do the same!

    Whilst allowing the behemoth of an organisation time to properly secure its data without hampering operations.

    However, I think another classification needed adding to standard security layers used:

    Top Secret (TS)




    Very Embarrassing if it got into the Public Domain


    1. Oninoshiko

      Very Embarrassing if it got into the Public Domain

      There is already a classification for this. It's "Restricted."

    2. Heathroi
      Big Brother

      Perhaps Unclassified should be renamed 'Statement issued to the media after being made to fit right narrative', A little long perhaps to make a stamp of.

  5. Ian Michael Gumby
    Thumb Up

    She got right!

    “Governments need to be able to keep secrets, especially secret services, to protect us in a difficult world,” she said. That observation led her to offer an opinion on WikiLeaks, which she says probably didn't publish anything significantly secret.


    For all of the Assange supporters, here is a person who gives a very rational perspective.

    There was little or no probative value in the Manning leaks. While the after action reports did give valuable insights in to the conflicts, they did not uncover anything that was a secret of great national importance. The un redacted release did however put real people in real jeopardy.

    Thumbs up all the way!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Finally A Voice of SANITY

    Thanks Mrs Rimmington for pointing out the Bleeding Obvious: Giving a Private (plus probably another intelligence soldiers) access to 400000 "secret" cables, not logging access, not restriciting it - what is that ?? Either incompetence or the messages are not that secret after all.

    Mr O'Bumma and Mrs Klingon are just angry that their own incompetence in protecting their diplomatic messages has become public. They are too dumb or too lazy to just ask an experienced data security professional for advice on how to secure such a database. So they went the easy route - read access for everyone of the 300000 "Top Secret Clearance" personnel. Of course they could also not be fucked to demand that the user terminals were not equipped with CDROM or USB drives.

    If we extrapolate this level of ignorance and incompetence to administration of the financial system it becomes crystal-clear why nobody checked the maliciousness of the Banksters. In 30 years time we will see what the consequences of incompetent pubblic servants are. The last major finance-fuckup resulted in WW2, so what's next ?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: Finally A Voice of SANITY

      ".....The last major finance-fuckup resulted in WW2...." Really? I thought it was some Austrian chappie called Adolph that kicked that off, and I'm pretty sure he was a watercolour painter rather than a banker? Always makes me laugh when the "intelligentsia" like to pretend that those artistically-inclined are somehow "more noble" than those that do the work and patronise their arts. Did I mention that ol' Adolph was a veggie too?

    2. Psyx

      Re: Finally A Voice of SANITY

      "Mr O'Bumma and Mrs Klingon are just angry that their own incompetence in protecting their diplomatic messages has become public. They are too dumb or too lazy to just ask an experienced data security professional for advice on how to secure such a database. "

      I don't think that it was their personal decision. I'm pretty sure neither of them makes every OPSEC decision in the USA.

      But apart from your post just being a stupid piece of Obama-hating drivel... right on!

      I'm pretty sure they're personally responsible for the cheese in your 'fridge going mouldy, too.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Cablegate DID Have Some effects

    I do think the Arab Revolution was started because of it. Many other governments (such as Ecuador's) had their eyes opened towards American arrogance. So all the suspicions were proven correct and that infuriated quite a few people.

    Was it bad ? Certainly not, now that so many nasty tyrants have been booted. (Despite all the whining from Zion and Langley about the loss of their "honorable" friends)

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: Cablegate DID Have Some effects

      "I do think the Arab Revolution was started because of it...." Despite hearing this from a number of Left-leaning numpties, I have yet to meet one that can actually support this idea with anything even remotely resembling a theory, let alone a verifiable fact. And the very term "Cablegate" is a very obvious and ham-fisted moniker used in an attempt to try and elevate the affair to the levels of skullduggery of Watergate and a desperate attempt to portray A$$nut in the same "noble journalistic" vein as Woodward and Bernstein. Please do entertain us with why you think A$$nut's efforts to make a buck started the Arab Revolution?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    must be getting old

    find myself agreeing with an ex head of mi5.

    <goes to buy a copy of the torygraph>


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