WikiLeaks` Assange accuses UK paper of negligence

It was Assange`s first public comments since WikiLeaks disclosed its entire archive of US cables.

Berlin: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
blasted the Guardian on Tuesday, saying the British paper`s
"negligence" in publishing an encryption key to uncensored
files forced his organisation`s hand in publishing the secret
US diplomatic memos.

It was Assange`s first public comments since WikiLeaks
disclosed its entire archive of US State Department cables
last week. The United States has fiercely criticised the move,
saying it could endanger the lives of the sources named in the
cables, including opposition figures or human rights
advocates.

Assange told a Berlin technology trade fair audience that
a Guardian journalist had published the password to the
encrypted files in his book, creating a situation where some
people got access to the uncensored files while others did
not.

"We had a case where every intelligence agency has the
material and the people who are mentioned do not have the
material..." he said by video link from a mansion about two
hours` drive from London, where he is under virtual house
arrest pending extradition proceedings to Sweden on unrelated
sexual assault allegations.

"So you have a race between the bad guys and the good
guys and it was necessary for us to stand on the side of the
good guys," he said.

WikiLeaks on Friday posted the 251,287 cables on its
website, making potentially sensitive diplomatic sources
available to anyone.

A joint statement published that day on the Guardian`s
website said it and its international media counterparts The
New York Times, France`s Le Monde, Germany`s Der Spiegel and
Spain`s El Pais "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.

But Assange specifically blamed the Guardian, pointing
out that a sensitive password used to decrypt the files was
published in a book by David Leigh, one of the paper`s
investigative reporters and a collaborator-turned-critic of
Assange.

He also blamed WikiLeaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg,
though not by name, alleging he told media organisations where
to find the encrypted files and how to use the password.

"An individual in Berlin had been spreading the location
of a hidden encrypted file that had been encrypted with that
password with selected media organizations in order to gain
personal benefit," Assange said.

Bureau Report

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