The controversial WikiLeaks website has recovered from a DDoS barrage that temporarily downed its servers.
The cyber attack appears to have been timed to coincide with the release of approximately three million classified documents obtained by the whistle-blowing site.
A number of prominent newspapers – including The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel – have already published embarrassing excerpts of diplomatic cables and papers stolen from US government offices.
Highlights include (via the NY Times, Guardian and Jerusalem Post):
Diplomacy FAIL 101 – French President Nicolas Sarkozy is referred to as a “naked emperor,” the German Chancellor is called Angela “Teflon” Merkel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai is “driven by paranoia.”
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is an “Alpha Male,” while President Dmitry Medvedev is “afraid, hesitant.” Muammar Gaddhafi’s full-time nurse is a “hot blond,” and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi loves “wild parties.”
US Spying on the UN – Washington is running a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the leadership of the United Nations, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.
US officials apparently wanted credit card numbers, email addresses, phone, fax and pager numbers and even frequent-flyer account numbers for UN figures, along with “biographic and biometric information on UN Security Council permanent representatives.”
A global computer hacking effort – China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems. The Google hacking incident was part of a (larger) coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government.
Saudis continue to fund terrorism – Saudi donors remain the primary financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda, and the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar – a generous host to the American military for years – was the “worst in the region” in counterterrorism efforts.
Arms shipments to terrorists – The US failed in its efforts to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hizballah in Lebanon, which has amassed a huge stockpile since its 2006 war with Israel.
International gossip – One cable from the Moscow Embassy on Russian first lady Svetlana Medvedev states that she is “generating tensions between the camps and remains the subject of avid gossip.” Another reports that the wife of Azerbaijan leader Ilham Aliyev has had so much plastic surgery that she can barely move her face.