The US has been in discussions with countries around the world
seeking to contain potential diplomat fallout over the pending
publication of classified diplomatic cables and documents.
According to media reports in numerous countries Friday, US
officials have reached out to the governments of Australia,
Britain, Canada, Denmark, Israel, Norway and others to discuss the
potential impact of the unauthorised leak.
WikiLeaks, the self-proclaimed whistleblower website, has
indicated it will publish nearly 3 million documents. In the past,
it has released secret papers through The New York Times, the
Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel. The release is
expected to take place within days but WikiLeaks has not specified
The US State Department is worried the information could include
embarrassing details or communications about other countries, and
is moving to contain the damage.
The revelations could be "harmful to the United States and our
interests" and "are going to create tension in relationships
between our diplomats and our friends around the world", spokesman
PJ Crowley said earlier this week.
The WikiLeaks release is expected to be the largest leak ever of
classified documents. In October, WikiLeaks published nearly
400,000 classified US military documents related to the war in
Iraq. It had previously published tens of thousands of military
papers about Afghanistan.
Washington has harshly condemned WikiLeaks for compromising
national security and putting lives at risk. The State Department
maintains the documents have been stolen and should be returned.
The US military arrested Private First Class Bradley Manning and
transferred him to the US in July in connection with leaking
classified material to WikiLeaks. US authorities have not said
whether Bradley was behind the leaking of the Iraq war logs or the
forthcoming State Department documents.
Manning was working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq at the time
of his arrest and reportedly had access to classified material.
Reports said the military had obtained evidence from his computer
showing he had downloaded secret information.
Typical diplomatic cables contain analysis of situations, as well
as records of discussions between US diplomats and foreign
officials in what Crowley described as "diplomacy in action".
"Inherent in this day-to-day action is trust that we can convey
our perspective to other governments in confidence and that they
can convey their perspective on events to us," he said. "And when
this confidence is betrayed and ends up on the front pages of
newspapers or lead stories on television and radio it has an
In hinting that a new release was imminent, WikiLeaks said on
Twitter last Sunday that it will be "7x the size of the Iraq War
Logs". It has documented on its Twitter account press reports
about the release and the ongoing discussions between US embassies
and their host governments.
The State Department has also informed Congress of the latest
pending release, Crowley said. He acknowledged the State
Department "has known all along" that WikiLeaks obtained the
diplomatic cables and was bracing for the publication.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is wanted in Sweden as part of an
ongoing investigation into sexual assault. A lower court last week
had approved the detention order by prosecutors who suspect the
Australian of "rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion".
Two women came forward in August with rape allegations against
Assange while he was in Sweden. Assange has rejected the