Republican senator John Ensign, upset over Wikileaks’ release of thousands of documents related to Afghanistan, decided to make his displeasure known by blocking US President Barack Obama’s nominee for US ambassador to Iceland.
While normally a presidential nomination for ambassadorship, although requiring Senate approval, is pretty much almost always approved as a matter of course, Ensign was having none of that. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that he placed a hold on the nominee, Luis Arreaga, saying, “We need Iceland’s cooperation. This is a NATO country that has this Wikileaks organization operating through it with the Iceland government looking the other way. We can’t have one of our NATO allies empowering the giving away of our national security secrets.”
The Senate, hoping to be able to confirm Arreaga before going on August break, arranged for Ensign to meet the nominee within a matter of hours. Apparently, Ensign was satisfied, as he later told reporters that the administration was just as concerned about the leaked Afghanistan documents as he was, adding, “[Arreaga] sounded like he was coming from the same place I was and that this is a top priority.”
Ensign isn’t the first Republican to call upon the Obama administration to crack down on Iceland. Only last week Liz Cheney told Fox News that, “I would really like to see President Obama to move to ask the government of Iceland to shut that website down. I would like to see him move to shut it down ourselves if Iceland won’t do it. I would like to see them move aggressively to prosecute Mr. Assange and certainly ensure that he never again gets a visa to enter the United States.”
As Icelandic journalist Kristin Hrafnsson told Eyjan, however, Wikileaks has servers all over the world that mirror each other. Shutting down Wikileaks’ server in Iceland would do literally nothing to stop Wikileaks.