Italy’s government said “classified reports” on U.S. foreign relations expected to be published by the website Wikileaks.org may harm the country as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi fights for his political survival.
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said during a Cabinet meeting in Rome today that the documents may have “negative repercussions” on Italy, according to an e-mailed statement from Berlusconi’s office.
A probe into Finmeccanica SpA, the nation’s largest defense contractor, media coverage of a garbage crisis in Naples and the publication of the top-secret reports were “signs of a plot to strike at the image of Italy on the international stage,” Frattini said. The Cabinet “unanimously shared” his concern.
The government faces a test of its survival in confidence votes in parliament on Dec. 14. The Constitutional Court is due to rule that day on the validity of a law that grants Berlusconi and top officials immunity from prosecution while in office, a decision that may prompt the resumption of corruption trials against the premier. The Wikileaks documents detail graft allegations against foreign leaders, Reuters said on Nov. 24, citing people familiar with the reports.
The Pentagon warned the U.S. Senate and House Armed Services Committees that WikiLeaks.org “intends to release several hundred thousand” classified U.S. State Department cables as soon as Nov. 26, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Elizabeth King wrote in a Nov. 23 e-mail to the defense panels. The reports concern ties with nations such as Italy, Russia, Turkey and Israel, Agence France-Presse said today.
The U.S. Embassy in Rome has notified Italy’s government about the possible publication of the documents, an embassy spokeswoman said. The U.S. briefed a number of foreign governments, including the U.K., about the potential damage from the leaked reports, the BBC reported today, citing a spokesman at the prime minister’s office.
Wikileaks released classified U.S. military documents earlier this year on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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