Before Cablegate was a twinkle in Julian Assange’s eye, I had a FOIA request submitted on my behalf to the United States State Department regarding the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals. At the time, I was flirting with the idea of abandoning special education for a career as a freelance journalist and reporter extraordinaire. Since my learning disabilities preclude easy accuracy with grammar and syntax, I have opted to be an investigative blogger of the hobbyist-variety. However, my FOIA requests have gradually worked their way though the system and I write expose based on them.
Approximately year after the FOIA request was submitted, I received four cables from AMEMBASSY VATICAN (The American Embassy in the Vatican) from the State Department’s FOIA staff. One them was 10 VATICAN 33, a cable formerly classified “SECRET,” meaning at its creation, unauthorized access to or leaking of the cable would have caused “grave damage" to American national security. Not surprisingly, portions of it are still redacted in the released version.
10 Vatican 33
10 Vatican 33
However, thanks to WikiLeaks, the redacted portions of this cable are available for public consumption, giving the average reader a direct, Vienna sausage making view of what the AMEMBASSY Vatican holds to be “Secret” and capable of endangering American lives.
Below are the excised portions of the cable I posted above with some light commentary. For the record, I have deleted the daffy ASCII characters contained within the WikiLeaks copy of the cable that I am posting here. The WikiLeaks version is available at their official site.
Section 1- Initially classified “Confidential” in its entirety; a brief portion was released in response to my FOIA request. Here are the redacted portions:
Sections 4-7 were withheld from me in their entirety. The State Department’s redactors went as far as to obscure which sections of the cable were being withheld. From the copy of the cable provided to me, it is unclear whether or not portions of section 3 are being redacted despite being the section being classified as Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) and thus not illegible for b(1) protection.
A few words were redacted on National Security grounds in section 8. Specifically, it was viewed as “prejudicial” to American interests and security that the Vatican know that AMEMBASSY VATICAN thought the normally cautious Vatican moved with with uncharacteristic speed to deal with the sex abuse scandal.
Sections 9-10 are provided without redaction. However, sections 11-14 are redacted with the exception of two titles. I present them below:
Section 15 mentions that Ambassador Diaz helped to create the cable.
I cannot say that I find anything within these cables that would case “grave damage” to American national security. Public information such as the Irish cheering the demise of rape apologists and protectors hardly seems “prejudicial” to American interests. Most of this information is public domain information already and shocking to no one with a basic familiarity with the situation.