WikiLeaks Informants Caught in Crossfire Between Julian Assange and U.K's Guardian

Paul Lilly

Whistleblower site WikiLeaks has gone ahead and published online its massive archive of unedited leaked U.S. diplomatic cables, exposing the names of thousands of informants and potentially putting them at risk of incarceration or deadly forms of retaliation. In the past, WikiLeaks made sure to edit out names of informants before publishing sensitive documents, and now that the cat is out of the bag, the finger pointing has begun.

The U.K.'s Guardian condemned the move in a joint statement issued with the New York Times , El Pais , Der Spiegel , and Le Mondel , all of which have worked with WikiLeaks to post redacted documents in the past.

"We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted state department, which may put sources at risk," the organizations stated. Our previous dealings with WikiLeaks were on the clear basis that we would only publish cables which had been subjected to a thorough joint editing and clearance process. We will continue to defend our previous collaborative publishing endeavor. We cannot defend the needless publication of the complete data – indeed, we are united in condemning it.

"The decision to publish by Julian Assange was his, and his alone."

Shame on WikiLeaks, right? Not so fast. WikiLeaks posted a statement on its website blaming a Guardian journalist for "negligently disclosing top secret WikiLeaks' decryption passwords to hundreds of thousands of unredacted unpublished U.S. diplomatic cables." According to WikiLeaks, Guardian investigations editor David Leight "recklessly, and without gaining our approval, knowing disclosed the decryption passwords" to a complete collection of uncensored documents known as the 'Cablegate library' in a recently published book.

"The Guardian disclosure is a violation of the confidentiality agreement between WikiLeaks and Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian , signed July 30, 2010," WikiLeaks claims. "David Leigh is also Alan Rusbridger’s brother in law, which has caused other Guardian journalists to claim that David Leigh has been unfairly protected from the fallout. It is not the first time the WikiLeaks security agreement has been violated by the Guardian ."

You can read both sides of the story here (Guardian) and here (WikiLeaks).

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