Highly classified US files on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's precarious hold on power could strain ties between the two countries and further destabilise her government. Among hundreds of files allegedly stolen from the FBI is a secret political risk assessment, prepared by America's top embassy official in Manila, warning of a military coup probably 'as early as May 2005' to force President Arroyo into resigning. Joseph Mussomeli, then US Embassy charge d'affaires, had furnished the FBI with a report entitled 'Philippines: Public Unease Growing', dated April 15, 2005. Mr Mussomeli wrote that 'reports from the US Defence Attache's Office suggest [the coup plotters] are planning an undefined 'military operation' involving elements from all four services that is intended to intimidate Macapagal-Arroyo into resigning'. He described the perpetrators as 'mid-level' military officers but admitted having 'little information' beyond that. He said a recent successful nationwide transport strike 'might persuade the military to move'. Should that happen, he said two possible scenarios might unfold. The opposition could goad Mrs Arroyo into declaring a state of emergency, 'prompting the military either to refuse support or to run against the president'. Or, he said, 'if Arroyo responds to the strike by calling her own supporters into the streets to confront the opposition violently, the military could act against her in the name of restoring order'. He said there was 'imprecise information' suggesting Mrs Arroyo may depend on her 'hardcore supporters ... rather than her unreliable military to defend her government'. The report of Mr Mussomeli, now America's envoy in Cambodia, was sent even before Mrs Arroyo's wiretapped conversations with an election official had leaked out and accusations were made that her husband and son received illegal gambling payoffs. When Mrs Arroyo's cabinet ministers resigned on July 8, Mr Mussomeli did not voice any strong support for the Arroyo government. Instead he said 'we are encouraging constitutional change ... we just want it to be peaceful, legal and the rest is up to the Filipino people'. The US had played a key role in encouraging or dissuading previous regime changes. In 1986, president Ronald Reagan's government gave Ferdinand Marcos the final push to 'cut cleanly', then spirited the Marcos family to Hawaii aboard US military aircraft. In 1989, 'persuasion flights' by US military planes helped foil the most serious coup attempt against president Corazon Aquino. Again in January 2001, the US government was the first country to recognise the legitimacy of President Arroyo's newly installed government.