The US has ordered a sweeping review of access to sensitive government information in the wake of the massive and potentially embarrassing WikiLeaks release of more than 250,000 classified documents.
The State Department memos, reflecting in some cases unflattering assessments of world leaders left the administration feeling vulnerable.
Publication of the secret memos and documents also increased widespread global alarm about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
And it revealed occasional US pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea. The leaks disclosed bluntly candid impressions from both diplomats and other world leaders about America's allies and foes.
It was, said Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, the "September 11 of world diplomacy". In the aftermath of the massive document dump by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and numerous media reports detailing their contents, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expected to address the diplomatic repercussions.
Mrs Clinton may have to confront the fallout first hand after she leaves Washington on a four-nation tour of Central Asia and the Middle East - a region that figures prominently in the leaked documents.
The encrypted emails and other documents unearthed new revelations about long-simmering nuclear trouble spots, detailing US, Israeli and Arab world fears of Iran's growing nuclear programme, American concerns about Pakistan's atomic arsenal and US discussions about a united Korean peninsula as a long-term solution to North Korean aggression.
Mrs Clinton said later that the leak was an attack not only against the US but the international community as well, and would erode trust among nations.
In her first public comments since the weekend release of the classified State Department cables, Ms Clinton said that WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the material. She said the Obama administration was "aggressively pursuing" those responsible for the leak.
Despite the damage, Ms Clinton said she was "confident" that US partnerships would withstand the challenges posed by revelations.