WASHINGTON -- Bristling over the unauthorized release of more than a quarter million classified State Department documents, the Obama White House on Monday ordered a government-wide review of how agencies safeguard sensitive information.
Shortly thereafter, Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters at the Justice Department that the administration would prosecute if violations of federal law are found in a criminal investigation of the incident.
The weekend release of documents reflecting, in some cases, unflattering assessments of world leaders has caused embarrassment to the administration. The director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew, said in ordering the agency-wide assessment Monday that the disclosures are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
The U.S. cables contained raw comments normally muffled by diplomatic politesse: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah pressing the U.S. to "cut off the head of the snake" by taking action against Iran's nuclear program. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi described as "feckless" and "vain." German Chancellor Angela Merkel dismissed as "risk averse and rarely creative."