The huge news of the past week has been the release of classified documents through the site Wikileaks. The thousands of private diplomatic cables that were released reveal foreign policy strategies, military secrets, embarrassingly candid opinions of global leaders and more. Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, is being pursued by numerous legal entities.
Some the leaks that made the biggest splash were requests from the State Department that diplomats should collect information from their foreign counterparts. They “show Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton and her predecessor Condoleezza Rice asking diplomats to collect data ranging from Internet passwords to DNA and iris scans,” according to USA Today. They also were encouraged to collect credit card numbers, frequent flier numbers, work schedules and fingerprints.
Critics say this borders on asking diplomats to be spies. Aaron David Miller of the Woodrow Wilson International Center Center for Scholars told USA Today, “Of what possible utility is a credit card number? Even if the directives were well-intentioned, that’s not the way it’s going to be interpreted, by friends as well as enemies.”
In an interview with TIME, Assange says he thinks Hillary Clinton should resign over this.
A White House spokesman termed Assange’s view absurd and said Clinton is doing a great job and nothing illegal. A State Department spokesman said that these developments aren’t new and that information collected is use to shape policies and actions, according to The New York Times. The publication adds that the documents “provide no evidence that American diplomats are actively trying to steal the secrets of foreign countries.”
What do you think? Is it reasonable for diplomats to collect others’ credit card numbers? Please read on for my roundup of my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week, including several great ones about affordable holiday gift shopping.
1. My Dollar Plan lists 10 affordable holiday gifts that cost less than $10 each and will help you avoid racking up holiday debt.
2. Yes, it’s possible. The Digerati Life explains 10 cheap ways you can find great Christmas gifts for under $5.
3. Gen X Finance provides a similar list of five creative holiday gifts you can make yourself for less than $5.
4. Studenomics offers advice on how you can financially survive this crazy holiday shopping season.
5. Don’t let your finances get swept away with the lure of blowout holiday sales. Money Under 30 explains why door-buster sales, especially during the holidays, are bad for your wallet.
6. Couple Money explains how they are able to have debt-free vacations and offers tips on how you can do the same.
7. Money Crashers outlines six great ways college students can build good credit history and improve their credit score.
8. My Two Dollars advises readers on eight ways you can consolidate your credit card debt to make it more manageable.
9. Not too concerned about money? You should be. The Sun’s Financial Diary gives 10 reasons why you should pay attention to your finances.
10. Cash Flow Sherpas reveals the danger of Cinderella loans — those that seem favorable at first, such as zero percent interest, but quickly become nightmares when the clock strikes midnight.