Files will risk 'countless' lives, Obama administration warns Wikileaks

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In a letter to Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, the Obama administration said that releasing the documents would risk "countless" lives.
Image: Martina Haris.

The United States government has urged Wikileaks not to publish new files because they will risk "countless" lives. In a letter to Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website, the Obama administration said that releasing the documents, rumoured to be seven times the size of the Iraq War Logs, would be in breach of U.S. law, and would result in "grave consequences." Assange replied by stating that the U.S. did not want to be held to account.

It is thought that the files will include correspondence between U.S. diplomats around the world. Wikinews reported on Saturday that officials in Washington were contacting embassies around the world to warn diplomats of the leak. The letter to Assange came after he questioned who would be at risk from the publication of the documents. In the letter, Harold Koh, the US state department's legal advisor, ordered Wikileaks to return the documents. "We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained US government classified materials," Koh wrote, adding that the documents could jeopardize counter-terrorism operations.

Analysts have said that the letter reflects the U.S. administration's concern over possible publication of the files, which may contain American diplomats' opinions of other politicians, some of which may be candid and embarrassing. It is not known when the documents will be published, but Koh said in the letter that he had spoken to The Guardian, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel about the documents. Earlier this year, Wikileaks released 70,000 documents detailing military actions in Afghanistan.

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