Europe fears that the WikiLeaks scandal will undermine confidence in U.S. diplomatic security, as the unauthorized release of hundreds of thousands of secret documents foreshadows a cyberthreat facing NATO nations, a top Hungarian official said on a visit to Washington.
“It is so detrimental that it is the Lehman Brothers of American diplomacy,” Deputy Foreign Minister Zsolt Nemeth told Embassy Row, referring to the Wall Street firm that filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history in 2008.
Mr. Nemeth called the release of the documents a “serious crime” that affects the “security of the NATO alliance.”
“It was not an accident that the NATO summit discussed the new threats that must be considered,” he said of last month’s meeting of alliance leaders is Lisbon, Portugal. “If the United States gets into trouble, that concerns the whole world.”
Mr. Nemeth, on his first visit to Washington as deputy foreign minister, laid the groundwork last week for Hungarian relations with the incoming Republican-led House. In January, Hungary assumes the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union.
His meetings included talks with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the incoming chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and with the co-chairmen of the House Hungarian Caucus, Democrat Dennis J. Kucinich and Republican Steven V. LaTourette, both from Ohio. He also met with Rep.-elect Andy Harris, Maryland Republican, whose parents fled communist Hungary after World War II.
Mr. Nemeth also announced that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will dedicate a human rights center devoted to the legacy of Tom Lantos, the Holocaust survivor who died in 2008 after serving 27 years as a Democratic House member from California. She is due to open the center at a summit of Eastern European nations in Budapest in May.
Before his visit to Washington last week, Mr. Nemeth stopped in New York, where he met with Susan E. Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and discussed Hungary’s campaign for one of the temporary seats on the 15-member U.N. Security Council.
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
• Leszek Balcerowicz, who has served as Poland’s deputy prime minister and finance minister and as governor of the National Bank of Poland. He addresses a forum at the Polish Embassy.
• Luis Estrada Straffon, former spokesman for Mexico’s Interior Ministry. He addresses a forum on Mexico-U.S. border security at George Washington University.
• Martin Kocourek, minister of industry and trade, and deputy ministers Milan Hovorka and Tomas Huner of the Czech Republic. They meet with U.S. officials to promote U.S.-Czech trade.
• Marta Lagos, founder and executive director of Latinobarometro in Santiago, Chile, who addresses the Inter-American Dialogue about the annual public opinion survey of 19,000 citizens in 18 Latin American countries.
• Rainer Stinner, a member of the German parliament and foreign policy spokesman for the Free Democratic Party. He discusses German views on Iran in a speech to the Friedrich Nauman Foundation.
• Thawatchai Sophastienphong, Thailand’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization. He discusses Thai economic policies at a forum sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
• Atul Khare, U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, who addresses the upcoming referendum on independence for southern Sudan in a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.