POSTED: 4:30 a.m. HST, Sep 2, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 4:37 a.m. HST, Sep 2, 2011
LONDON » Four of the high-profile media organizations that have collaborated with WikiLeaks on its release of secret documents on Friday condemned the group's disclosure of its entire archive of uncensored U.S. State Department cables.
WikiLeaks announced that it had posted the last of its collection of 251,287 U.S. Embassy cables, a trove of diplomatic material whose exposure has embarrassed officials and laid bare examples of corruption and double-dealing around the globe.
But unlike previous releases, many if not all the newly-posted documents appeared to have been left uncensored — meaning that names and other details of people quoted in the often-sensitive cables are now freely available to all.
A joint statement published on the Guardian's website Friday said that the British publication and its international colleagues — The New York Times, Spanish daily El Pais and German newspaper Der Spiegel — "deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk."
Le Monde, the French daily which also published some of WikiLeaks' documents, will join other media partners in signing the statement, according to executive editor Sylvie Kauffmann.
WikiLeaks members of staff have not returned repeated requests for comment sent in the past two days. But in a series of messages posted to Twitter, the group seemed to suggest that it had no choice but to post the archive to its website because copies of the document were already circulating freely online following a security breach at the site.
WikiLeaks has blamed the Guardian for the breach, pointing out that a sensitive password used to decrypt the files was published in a book put out by David Leigh, one of the paper's investigative reporters and a collaborator-turned-critic of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
But the Guardian, Leigh and others have rejected the claim, suggesting that the real problem was that WikiLeaks posted the encrypted file to the Web by accident and that Assange made the elementary mistake of reusing an old password.
The U.S. State Department has also condemned the latest release.
Greg Keller in Paris contributed to this report.