Data Dump

04.08.13

Inside the Kissinger Cables

A new data dump from WikiLeaks lets us get up close and personal with Henry Kissinger. See the most interesting revelations—and help us dig through the rest of the 1.7 million cables.

Cablegate: Part II?

WikiLeaks released on Monday a search engine that allows readers to scour through a trove of more than 1.7 million diplomatic cables. Branded the "Kissinger Cables," they run from 1973-1976 and focus on the tenure of controversial Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The searchable database, dubbed "PlusD" (#PlusD on Twitter), also contains the 250,000 diplomatic cables that WikiLeaks released in November 2010, known collectively as "Cablegate."

Unlike "Cablegate," the "Kissinger Cables" contains only previously declassified documents, but the newly accessible format has already allowed many news organizations to find some interesting nuggets. (WikiLeaks said they published the documents in part because of efforts by the U.S. government to reclassify some of the material.) In addition to a full-text search, you can also make graphs of how often a term appeared over time such as "Nixon" and "Watergate." There's a lively discussion on Reddit about it and below are some highlights from what people have found so far.

You can help too! Enter a term to the PlusD search engine and let us know if you find anything with the form below. Read the responses here.

Some highlights:

On March 10, 1975 Kissinger said in a meeting:

Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, "The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer." [laughter] But since the Freedom of Information Act, I'm afraid to say things like that.

India Ink, a New York Times blog, found cables uncovering possible political motivations behind India's first nuclear test, cables shedding light on prisoner of war releases to Pakistan, and statements from Indira Gandhi stating that she was proud of resisting pressures to destroy Pakistan in 1971.

Foreign Policy found cables from 1975 chronicling Margaret Thatcher's rise. "There are few who would disparage Margaret Thatcher's remarkable personal triumph. The first woman to lead a political party, she is able, intelligent, articulate, hard-working, and clearly ready to take charge."