POSTED: 09:14 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 09:23 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2010
WASHINGTON >> In a disclosure of some of the most sensitive information revealed yet by WikiLeaks, the website has released a secret cable listing sites worldwide that the U.S. considers critical to its national security.
The locations cited in the diplomatic cable from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton range from undersea communications lines to suppliers of food, medicine and manufacturing materials.
The Pentagon declined to comment Monday on the details of what it called "stolen" documents containing classified information. But a spokesman, Col. David Lapan, called the disclosure "damaging" and said it gives valuable information to the country's adversaries.
"This is one of many reasons why we believe Wikileaks' actions are irresponsible and dangerous," Lapan said.
WikiLeaks released the 2009 Clinton cable on Sunday.
In the message, marked "secret," Clinton asked U.S. diplomatic posts to help update a list of sites around the world "which, if destroyed, disrupted or exploited, would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States."
The list was considered so confidential, the posts were advised to come up with it on their own: "Posts are not/not being asked to consult with host governments in respect to this request," Clinton wrote.
Attached to Clinton's message was a rundown of sites included in the 2008 "Critical Foreign Dependencies Initiative" list. Some of the sites, such as border crossings, hydroelectric dams and shipping lanes, could hardly be considered secret.
But other locations, such as mines, manufacturers of components used in weapons systems, and vaccine and antivenom factories, likely were not widely known. The Associated Press has decided against publishing their names due to the sensitive nature of the information.
The release came as WikiLeaks faced more pressure to end its release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, which started last week.
The Swiss postal system on Monday shut down a bank account held by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, leaving him and his website with few options left for raising money. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks' Swedish servers again came under suspected attack.
Also Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder again condemned the leaks and said the espionage act is just one of the laws the U.S. could use to prosecute those involved in the WikiLeaks releases.
Holder declined to say which other laws might come into play. Possibilities include charges such as the theft of government property or receipt of stolen government property.
Associated Press Writers Anne Flaherty and Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington and John Heilprin in Geneva contributed to this story.