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Clinton didn't order diplomats to spy

01 December 2010, 18:02

Washington - President Barack Obama's spokesperson is labelling as "ridiculous" an assertion by the founder of WikiLeaks that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should resign if she was involved in asking US diplomats to gather intelligence at the United Nations.

In an online interview with Time magazine from an undisclosed location, founder Julian Assange on Tuesday called on Clinton to resign "if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering US diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations" in violation of international agreements.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Wednesday that Assange's statements "were both ridiculous and absurd." Clinton, he said, has done nothing wrong and US diplomats do not engage in spying.

State Department officials said on Tuesday that secret instructions to American diplomats to gather sensitive personal information about foreign leaders originated from the US intelligence community but did not require diplomats to spy.

Requests for DNA and biometric data on foreign officials were contained in leaked classified cables published by WikiLeaks.

"Secretary Clinton is doing a great job," Gibbs said. "The president has great confidence in and admires the work that Secretary Clinton has done."

- AP


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