Al Jazeera Chief Resigns After Wikileaks Reveals Close U.S. Ties

Wadah Khanfar New American Foundation - H 2011
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Wadah Khanfar New American Foundation - H 2011

Wadah Khanfar stepped down from his post at the Qatar-based website on Tuesday.

Wadah Khanfar, the director-general of Al Jazeera, has resigned after eight years of leading the network. His departure comes on the heels of a release by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks of U.S. diplomatic cables that implied that Khanfar was open to changing editorial content at the request of U.S. authorities.

The leaked cable from 2010 indicated that Khanfar was in constant contact with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, and would promise to tone down items on the website that were met with complaints from the U.S.

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The leaked cable talks about a meeting of the U.S. embassy in Doha with Khanfar to discuss a website piece, "Live Testimony Concerning Tal Afar," that showed witnesses giving their accounts of U.S. military operations in Iraq.

Khanfar, according to the cable, "had taken a look at the piece and had two images removed (two injured children in hospital beds and a women with serious facial injury)." The cable also indicates that Khanfar wanted to keep the arrangements a secret.

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“After 8 years of service leading Al Jazeera, I have just announced that I am moving on,” Khanfar wrote on his Twitter. “8 years is a long time to be leading a Network. Renewal and change is always good.”

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During Khanfar’s time at the helm, Al Jazeera a single channel to a media network with multiple properties including the Al Jazeera Arabic channel, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Documentary and Al Jazeera’s news websites.

Khanfar was replaced by Sheik Ahmad bin Jasem bin Muhammad Al-Thani, a member of Qatar’s royal family. The network is based in Qatar, and mainly funded by Qatar’s royal family.