Australia concerned by WikiLeaks latest release
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Last Updated: Saturday, September 03, 2011, 12:38
  
Canberra: Australia said it has extreme concerns about the latest release of unredacted diplomatic cables by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, after at least one purportedly identified a government spy.

Anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks on Friday dumped its full unredacted archive of US diplomatic cables online, confirming in a message on Twitter that all 251,287 of the US embassy documents had now been posted on the Internet.

Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland said he was concerned that the group had discontinued its practice of deleting identifying features where he said the safety of individuals or national security could be put at risk.

"It appears this hasn't occurred with documents that have been distributed across the Internet this week and this is extremely concerning," he said.

McClelland said he had been advised that many of the new batch of documents contained identifying information, including at least one cable in which an agent with Australia's spy agency ASIO is purported to have been identified.

"ASIO and other government agencies officers are working through the material to see the extent of the impact on Australian interests," McClelland said in a statement released late Friday.

"I will not provide a running commentary on WikiLeaks, however this disturbing development confirms the government's position regarding WikiLeaks and others disseminating classified material."

Under Australian law it is a crime to publish, or cause to be published, the identity of an ASIO officer, he added.

Australia last week lashed out at WikiLeaks, calling it "incredibly irresponsible" for publishing a secret US cable naming Australians with suspected links to Yemeni terrorism.

WikiLeaks had been slowly releasing the leaked US cables since November, working with its media partners to sift through the information to erase the names of potentially vulnerable sources.

But in a tweet announcing the release on Friday, it said: "Shining a light on 45 years of US 'diplomacy', it is time to open the archives forever."

WikiLeaks' previous releases, in which American diplomats have spoken openly about foreign governments and their officers, have proven deeply embarrassing for the United States.

Bureau Report


First Published: Saturday, September 03, 2011, 12:38


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