US Diplomats Deployed as Spies
Disclosed cables reveal unorthodox tactics
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2010 7:03 PM CST
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Parrilla addresses the General Assembly on the necessity of ending the embargo imposed by the US against Cuba Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010 at United Nations headquarters.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – US diplomats collect personal and financial data on foreign officials in a manner one might expect of, well, spies, the LA Times reports. While State Department employees aren't exactly the new James Bonds, both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton have asked diplomats to deliver anything they can from a laundry list of personal information on foreign officials.

One cable asks recipients to note “biographic and biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats,” another for "details about personal relations between Bulgarian leaders and Russian officials or businessmen.” The Times notes a particular interest in Ban Ki-Moon. While some in the intel community worry the revelations could damage State's ability to carry out diplomacy, a spokesman insists that, ""Our diplomats are just that, diplomats."