Al Jazeera has dismissed claims based on leaked US diplomatic cables that Qatar, the network's home, uses the news channel as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations. A report in The Guardian newspaper alleges that Qatari politicians use Al Jazeera as an "informal tool" to achieve foreign policy goals, ordering changes to the network's coverage in accordance with the country's national objectives. Al Jazeera said the claims were "very far from the truth", insisting that its journalists operate with complete editorial independence despite facing pressure from international governments.
Among the secret diplomatic cables thus far released by WikiLeaks are a few that give insight into the US view of Qatar, as well as Qatar's stance on regional issues in the Gulf and elsewhere in the Middle East. In preparation for the January 4 visit of Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani (referred to as "HBJ"), Qatar's prime minister, to Washington, D.C., Joseph LeBaron, US ambassador to Qatar, drafted a cable to D.C. as a primer with talking points and issues to address with Hamad bin Jassim.