WikiLeaks released 1.7 million new U.S. diplomatic cables from during the Henry Kissinger era this week, but the mainstream media has focused upon a long-public quote by the former U.S. Secretary of State as evidence of the revelatory nature of the once-secret cables.
Specifically, the media glommed onto the following Kissinger quote: “The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” But The New American's William F. Jasper reported this exact same quote from another source back on November 8, 2010 — more than two years earlier.
Kissinger's statement above was made in a March 10, 1975 meeting between high-level foreign policy officials of the United States and Turkey in the wake of the Cyprus crisis. The conversation involved whether U.S. foreign aid could resume to Turkey after the Turkish invasion of the Greek island of Cyprus, in which the Turkish foreign minister suggested he needed more military supplies from the U.S. government:
[Turkish Foreign Minister Melih] Esenbel: “The Europeans should find ways to meet quick needs; for example, the Air Force needs spare parts. For other items that they can't find in the stocks, maybe you could make a deal with the Dutch or others to send it here.”
[U.S. Ambassador to Turkey William] Macomber: “That is illegal.”
[U.S. Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger: “Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, ‘The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.’ [laughter] But since the Freedom of Information Act, I'm afraid to say things like that. We'll make a major effort.”
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Photo of Henry Kissinger from 1979: AP Images