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Below is sensational segment of a U.S. Cairo embassy SECRET classified cable to the Secretary of State of 4/4/07 — four years ago! –that predicted a meltdown in Egypt because of rampant corruption related to Mubarak’s son Gamal and his
“cronies.”. The cable was released by Wikileaks on 1/28 this year. It had originally been scheduled for declassification in 2047!

(S) XXXXXXXXXXXX said XXXXXXXXXXXX had commented to him in a recent
private meeting that, “he has had it ‘up to here’ with Gamal
and his cronies, and the tremendous corruption they are
facilitating.” “XXXXXXXXXXXX told me he is having trouble sleeping
at night,” he continued, “and that he cannot stand what has
happened to the country, and what may yet happen to the
country.” Disappointed by the recent constitutional
amendments, and skeptical about the will of either Mubarak or
Gamal to push forward meaningful political reforms, XXXXXXXXXXXX
said he viewed a post-Mubarak military coup as “the best
possible way out for Egypt … we are in a terrible spot, and
that is the best of all the bad options available.” (Note:
XXXXXXXXXXXX provided no further details about a possible coup
scenario, and appeared to simply be theorizing about the
future. To date, we have not heard other interlocutors
speculate about a possible coup option. End note).

When the White House press secretary said this is what the President wants, as part of their response to the Wikileaks new avalanche of damning secret diplomatic innuendo, I couldn’t help but wonder at the dichotomy between that rhetoric of transparency and honesty compared with the overwhelming condemnation by Administration officials and pundits of Wikileaks and PFC Bradley Manning for poisoning the public air with the truth. If diplomacy is all about relationships, why must the candid reports of that diplomacy need to be hidden from public eyes?

Why must “open government” be conducted in secret? Yes, I know that the real world is complicated, and I understand the concept of understanding things in context and being candid in our sharing of assessments, but I think the kind of unanticipated periodic airing of our diplomatic “dirty laundry” ala vehicles such as Wikileaks may have the salutary effect of helping keep our “diplomatic conversations” more in line with our stated motives and objectives. If we really believe in “responsible, accountable and open government around the world,” as the White House officially claims we do, such an airing of the truth should not produce a scandal, as has this latest round of revelations, but should be an affirmation of that admirable, trust-enducing standard.

January 2023

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