Washington: The US has underlined its
determination to hold those responsible for the criminal leak
of secret American documents by whistleblower website
Wikileaks, saying for now the arrest of Julian Assange "is an
issue between Britain and Sweden."
"Well, our investigation is ongoing. And beyond that,
as to his arrest, this is, at this point, an issue between
Britain and Sweden, the State Department spokesman, P J
Crowley, told reporters.
39-year-old Assange, an Australian citizen, was
arrested by the UK Metropolitan police in London yesterday on
the basis of an arrest warrant issued from Sweden relating to
allegations of sexual assaults against him.
Assange was also produced before Westminster
Magistrates Court where he was denied a bail.
"What we’re investigating is a crime under US law.
The provision of 250,000 classified documents from someone
inside the government to someone outside the government is a
crime," he said at his daily news conference.
"And as we’ve said, we will hold those responsible
fully accountable. That investigation is still ongoing,
Crowley said the US position has been clear from the
outset that the release of these documents puts lives and
interests at risk, not just American lives and American
interests, but the interests of others around the world.
"We have specifically called on Mr. Assange to return
stolen property to the United States. He has declined to do
that. But beyond that, without talking about any particular
cable, there is information that fully deserves
confidentiality and classification, he said.
He said the release of a list of critical
infrastructure that is important to our society and our
economy and the economies of other countries is
"It is expressly the kind of information that is
classified and deserves to remain classified. And its release,
in essence, is providing a targeting list to a group like
al Qaeda," Crowley said.
Responding to questions, Crowley said he does not
expect any major reshuffle of US diplomats in the foreign
countries in view of the Wikileaks.
"I don’t expect that to happen," he said.
He said it was "complete nonsense" that there’s some vast
global conspiracy centered on the United States.
He said US diplomats are doing "what we expect them to
do and what we need them to continue to do". "None of that
will change based on these revelations," he underlined.
"To the extent our relations with other countries are
based on mutual interest and mutual respect, that hasn’t
changed by the release of these documents," Crowley said.