Washington: The first details of the illicit publication of US classified diplomatic cables and documents were leaking on Saturday on the Internet.
The US State Department was bracing for the publication by WikiLeaks of millions of confidential messages and reports sometime in the coming days. Germany`s Der Spiegel, London`s Guardian and the US` New York Times were expected to simultaneously release their stories and links to the documents in the coming day or so.
The documents are expected to contain classified and embarrassing details or communications about other countries. They will represent the third batch of secret US documents posted by the upstart WikiLeaks organisation.
The German website netzpolitik.org reported on Saturday on a brief posting on Der Spiegel online that hinted at some details of the WikiLeaks documents. Der Spiegel took the posting down after only a brief appearance online.
According to the link to the now-disappeared article, the documents will include 250,000 diplomatic cables sent by US representatives all over the world to the State Department in Washington.
Most of the documents were transmitted since 2004, only one document dates back to 1966, netzpolitik.org reported.
More than 9,000 documents stem from the first two months this year. Spiegel Online did not comment to DPA on the veracity of netzpolitik`s report or on whether the summary was posted in error.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has reached out to Germany and a handful of other countries to contain the diplomatic fallout ahead of the WikiLeaks publication, the State Department said on Saturday.
Only a small portion of the documents are classified as secret, that is, with the second highest secrecy level. An estimated 4,330 documents were so confidential that they were not to have been made accessible to foreigners.
None of the documents that WikiLeaks obtained were classified as "top secret", according to the alleged Spiegel report.