(WASHINGTON) -- Ecuador asked U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges to leave the country as soon as possible on Tuesday, making her the most recent diplomat to become involved in a diplomatic dispute generated by a WikiLeaks disclosure.
Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Hodges was expelled for accusing national police commander Jaime Hurtado Vaco of corruption and for speculating that President Rafael Correa was well aware of the commander's wrongdoings.
The grounds from expulsion evolved on Monday when the Madrid newspaper El Pais published a WikiLeaks cable dated July 10, 2009. The cable quoted Hodges as saying Vaco used his position as commander "to extort cash and property, misappropriate public funds, facilitate human trafficking, and obstruct the investigation and prosecution of corrupt colleagues."
The U.S. State Department has called the expulsion "unjustified." There is no word on how else the department plans to act.
The WikiLeaks website began releasing confidential U.S. diplomatic cables in November resulting in a string of diplomatic turmoil for U.S. ambassadors. Since January, ambassadors in Libya and Mexico were asked to leave and a former ambassador to Turkey was threatened with a lawsuit from the Turkish prime minister.
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