BEIRUT: Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said Monday investigations are ongoing into media leaks of diplomatic cables after he authorized the questioning of members of the ministry's diplomatic staff.
Bassil's move drew criticism after members of the State Security agency entered the ministry's headquarters in Beirut and held members of its diplomatic staff for questioning to identify those responsible for leaking diplomatic cables to Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar. The cables document recent meetings held in Washington between Lebanese officials and Marshall Billingslea, the assistant secretary for terrorist financing at the U.S. Treasury.
Bassil said the investigations were ordered and supervised by the judiciary.
"Ever since I took over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2014, I've discovered that leaks are occurring from within," Bassil said during the swearing-in of new Lebanese diplomats.
Bassil said he apologized to his staff over the investigation while expressing hope that the leaks wouldn't be indicative of "corruption in the Ministry."
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