WikiLeaks, ‘The Guardian’ Trade Barbs over Unredacted Cables

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FOLLOW-UP: WikiLeaks has published 250,000+ U.S. Embassy cables to a searchable online database…

As the story goes, some 100,000 or more secret U.S. diplomatic cables found their way onto the internet recently—the cables had been rounded up by none other than WikiLeaks, the non-profit, secret-leaking organization with the simple motto, "We open governments."

Unlike previously-released WikiLeaks cables, however, this latest batch hadn’t been vetted first, so several pieces of sensitive information such as the names of confidential informants found its way out into the open as well.

(PHOTOS: Inside WikiLeaks’ Bunker)

The group has now blamed U.K. newspaper the Guardian for the leak: The paper published a book about WikiLeaks back in February and in it disclosed the password used to decrypt previous diplomatic cables. As it turns out, that password works to decrypt others as well.

According to WikiLeaks:

"The WikiLeaks method involves a sophisticated procedure of packaging leaked US diplomatic cables up into country groups or themes, such as ’resources corruption’, and providing it to those organizations that agreed to do the most research in exchange for time-limited exclusivity. As part of the WikiLeaks agreement, these groups, using their local knowledge, remove the names of persons reporting unjust acts to US embassies, and feed the results back to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks then publishes, simultaneously with its partners, the underlying cables together with the politically explosive revelations. This way publications that are too frightened to publish the cables have the proof they need, and the public can check to make sure the claims are accurate.

Over time WikiLeaks has been building up, and publishing, the complete Cablegate "library"—the most significant political document ever published. The mammoth task of reading and lightly redacting what amounts to 3,000 volumes or 284 million words of global political history is shared by WikiLeaks and its partners. That careful work has been compromised as a result of the recklessness of the Guardian…

…Guardian investigations editor, David Leigh, recklessly, and without gaining our approval, knowingly disclosed the decryption passwords in a book published by the Guardian."

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak, WikiLeaks has been taking a vote about whether or not it should just release all the U.S. diplomatic cables itself, saying, "Given that the full database file is downloadable from hundreds of sites there is only one internally rational action."

(MORE: Piles of Pivotal WikiLeaks Data May Have Been Obliterated)

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