- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Ship of state
Only six months into office, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has taken aim at press leaks, posting on the U.N. Intranet an ill-timed memo to all U.N. staff just hours before a brutally candid assessment of the organization’s shortcomings in the Middle East was published on the Internet.
“I am asking all departments, offices, funds and programs to review and tighten their systems and ensure that sensitive communications are well secured,” said the note, which was signed by Mr. Ban. “I cannot overstate how seriously I take this issue.”
U.N. officials say the memo is a response to a draft proposal from the U.N. political affairs office urging closer U.N.-North Korean relations, which wound up on the Internet two weeks ago. The report apparently created alarm in regional capitals where officials were unaware that the issue was under consideration.
“The note was referring to something specific: the leakage of a policy document,” Ban spokeswoman Michele Montas said during a fractious press briefing Wednesday.
However, the memo did not refer to any specific document, merely warning staffers to respect their obligation “to respect confidentiality whenever necessary” and not share “sensitive information.”
So is the Secretariat clamping down on embarrassing leaks? Trying to hobble reporters’ ability to obtain interviews and information that don’t necessarily reflect the official thinking? Curtailing freedom of speech and press? No, Miss Montas said.
“At every policy briefing on the 38th floor, there are points of views expressed,” she said, noting that the contents of those meetings should remain confidential.
“Once there are policy decisions that are taken, you are aware of them, you are told about them. … But there is a process of decision making which is not part of the public domain. It is normal.” The spokeswoman added that the U.N. policy was no different from that of the British government.
The U.N. press corps, many of whose members received forwarded copies of the e-mail letter, were concerned that the Ban regime seeks to shroud its decision-making process. Diplomats, midlevel U.N. officials and privately funded organizations have increasingly complained about their inability to track issues that concern them.
In January 1972, Mr. Ban noted in the General Assembly, the Cold War was still “icy,” the communist mainland had just assumed China’s contested seat and the Vietnam War was still playing out.
During his tenure, Mr. Waldheim visited Tehran to try to negotiate the release of U.S. hostages from the embassy, and dealt with wars in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow