|Hillary Clinton's big secret|
|Written by Hemant|
|Sunday, 12 December 2010|
Leaked United States diplomatic cables explain why officials appear to
have been caught on the hop last year when American Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton announced the resumption of intelligence sharing
between the two countries - the deal was supposed to be top secret.
The cables obtained by The Sunday Star Times confirmed that it had been the intention of both countries to keep the news that intelligence collaboration had been "fully restored" secret. A classified American embassy cable sent to Clinton on January 6 warned her not to acknowledge the position in public ahead of a visit to New Zealand, which was later postponed.
But Clinton had, in fact, already lifted the lid on the news, announcing the decision to restore intelligence sharing at a press conference with Foreign Minister Murray McCully in Washington in October last year.
Our government refused to comment at the time despite Clinton labelling the decision to resume intelligence sharing cooperation as "very significant".
Behind the scenes, senior government sources and officials were clearly taken by surprise by Clinton's announcement - for reasons which the cables now make clear.
The cables showed both countries were also determined to keep secret a significant shift in the post-Anzus relationship in 2007, when the United States proposed loosening its ban on military exercises and training.
The proposal was put to the Helen Clark government but in a cable headed "US Discomfort at NZ Delay" it was made clear that the Government's delay giving a response risked a set back in relations and "risked tarnishing what should be a real positive for the relationship".
The deal was not confirmed till February the following year.
The high level of sensitivity surrounding the shift was demonstrated by both countries agreeing to keep the news "out of the public domain" but it appears that the demand for secrecy was mostly on New Zealand's side.
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