September 21, 2020

WikiLeaks reveals all, media groups criticise move

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks disclosed its entire archive of U.S. State Department cables Friday, much if not all of it uncensored — a move that drew stinging condemnation from major newspapers which in the past collaborated with the anti-secrecy group’s efforts to expose corruption and double-dealing.

Many media outlets, including The Associated Press, previously had access to all or part of the uncensored tome. But WikiLeaks’ decision to post the 251,287 cables on its website makes potentially sensitive diplomatic sources available to anyone, anywhere at the stroke of a key. American officials have warned that the disclosures could jeopardise vulnerable people such as opposition figures or human rights campaigners.

A joint statement published on the Guardian’s website said that the British publication and its international counterparts “deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk.”

Previously, international media outlets — and WikiLeaks itself — had redacted the names of potentially vulnerable sources, although the standard has varied and some experts warned that even people whose names had been kept out of the cables were still at risk.

WikiLeaks staff members have not returned repeated requests for comment sent in the past two days. But in a series of messages on Twitter, the group seemed to suggest that it had no choice but to publish the archive because copies of the document were already circulating online following a security breach.

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