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May 8, 2021

WikiLeaks releases first cable from US Embassy in Romania

The documents sent by the diplomatic mission became of interest for American diplomacy only during 2004 elections, daily ‘Gandul’ writes.

Whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks.org made public the first cable sent by the US Embassy in Bucharest to the State Department, a document dated April 2006, according to HotNews.ro. The cable is one of the over 800 sent by the American diplomatic mission and part of more than 1,000 documents containing references to Romania. The April 2006 cable refers to the matter of inter-country adoptions in Romania and to a letter on the issue sent by the head of the Adoption Office, Teodora Bertzi. The document was classified as confidential and was signed by the then-US Ambassador Nicholas Taubman. WikiLeaks meanwhile detailed what several of the US Embassy cables on Romania included, without yet releasing them to the public, according to Mediafax. Thus, in November and December last year, when the presidential elections were held, the diplomatic mission sent cables referring to economy, foreign trade and matters of internal politics. Moreover, the website has obtained several notes on Romania from the State Department. These documents, dated early December 2009, refer to a wide range of issues, including military deals, weapons sales, and intelligence matters.

WikiLeaks on Sunday began publishing over 250,000 documents sent by American diplomats to Washington, containing exchanges of confidential or secret information between 274 embassies, consulates or diplomatic missions from all over the world and the US State Department. The cables are dated between December 28, 1966 and February 28, 2010. Among these, only 15,652 cables are classified as ‘secret.’ The website only made available all the documents to a number of US and European newspapers, such as the ‘New York Times’ and ‘The Guardian.’

Romanian daily ‘Gandul’ also obtained 775 of the total of 830 cables sent by the US Embassy to Washington. The publication said that the cables sent by the diplomatic mission became a constant interest for American authorities only during the 2004 elections, when current President Traian Basescu won his first term. Ahead of December 2004, there were only two cables obtained by WikiLeaks: one in 1995, referring to national security and internal affairs and one in July 2000, concerning floods and military cooperation.

A real ‘explosion’ of cables from the US Embassy occurred in December 2004, with 13 cables sent as of December 10 and six of these only on December 15, after the presidential election, when results showed that Basescu had won over Adrian Nastase virtually by ‘photo finish,’ the newspaper commented.
One of the December 15 cables surprisingly referred to terrorists and to combating terrorism, according to the publication. Cables that followed in the first months of 2005 also focused on important matters such as military and defence agreements, military assistance and arms sales, military intelligence. Five days before three Romanian journalists were kidnapped in Iraq, on March 23, 2005, the US embassy also sent to Washington a new cable on terrorism issues. More cables on the same matter were sent that year on April 8, April 27, May 12, May 13, May 23 (a day after the journalists were released) and May 26.
The leaked documents were also discussed by US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein and President Basescu while they were on a visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday. Gitenstein said that the leaked cables are unlikely to affect Romanian-US ties, Agerpres reported. “We are like a family here and the president and I had a conversation on the matter, I’m not worried and I think he’s not worried either,” the US diplomat said.

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