Embassy cables show US spied on UK Foreign Office
February 7, 2011 1 Comment
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The latest release of US embassy cables from whistleblower website WikiLeaks shows that the US Department of State ordered its diplomats to actively report on the personal lives of British Foreign Office officials. On several instances, American diplomats in London appear to have reported on the personal life of Ivan Lewis, a Labour Party politician who served as Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs during the closing days of Gordon Brown’s government. It seems that the reports on Lewis were compiled at the request of the State Department in Washington, which issued calls for specific background information on Lewis’ personal life. In response to the request, a memorandum was sent from the US embassy in London on August 12, 2009, suggesting that Lewis was “possibly prone to depression” and that he was described by one of his colleagues as “a bully”. The cable also indicated that Lewis had apologized “in 2007 to a female in his office who accused him of sexual harassment”, and suggested that the incident had been purposely leaked to the British media by Downing Street a few months later, after Lewis publicly joined the internal Labour Party revolt against Brown. Nevertheless, the US embassy suggested that the Brown administration considered Lewis, who is Jewish, an important asset to the Foreign Office, in countering the pro-Palestinian viewpoint of David Miliband, who at the time was Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Customarily, foreign diplomats compile background reports on the human weaknesses of public officials so that these weaknesses can be used to extract information from them in a variety of ways. The US State Department and Lewis’ office have refused comment on the report.