Australia condemns 'irresponsible' Wikileaks cable leak
An Australian official has described as "incredibly irresponsible" Wikileaks' release of a US cable that appears to name Australian terror suspects.
The cable was among more than 130,000 confidential US cables released by the whistle-blowing group, many of which did not remove the names of sources.
Such information has previously been redacted in Wikileaks releases.
The group has denied that any sources were exposed or that there were any mistakes in the data release.
In a statement on its website, Wikleaks said its latest release contained 133,887 cables sent from US embassies around the world to the state department - more than half its whole cache.
"For the first time, the diplomatic cables are available from every country that has US diplomatic representation," it said.
It said the release marked nine months of the "Cablegate" project and that such a large volume was needed because the mainstream media had stopped covering Wikileaks updates in recent months.
"The decision to publish 133,877 cables was taken in accordance with WikiLeaks' commitment to maximising impact, and making information available to all," said the group.
End Quote Wikileaks
A grossly negligent mainstream media error, to put it generously”
Wikileaks has steadily been releasing secret US diplomatic cables to the media and on its website since 2010. The names and places of low-level contacts and sources have usually been redacted in order to protect those involved.
But Australia's Attorney General Robert McClelland said this had not occurred in a cable dating from January 2010, meaning the names of 23 Australians believed to have linked to terror groups in Yemen were listed.
"The publication of any information that could compromise Australia's national security - or inhibit the ability of intelligence agencies to monitor potential threats - is incredibly irresponsible," he said.
The New York Times - which has been a Wikileaks partner and has had access to their cache - said that other named individuals included a UN official in West Africa and a human rights activists in Cambodia - both of whom had spoken on condition of anonymity.
The US Department of State has not commented specifically on the release.
But a spokesman said the US "strongly condemns any illegal disclosure of classified information" which put individuals' security at risk, damaged US interests and undermined diplomatic efforts.
However, Wikileaks said it was "totally false that any WikiLeaks sources have been exposed or will be exposed" and described the New York Times as "drooling, senile and evil".
The group also denied through its Twitter account that it had been at fault, but said there had been "a grossly negligent mainstream media error, to put it generously".
Another tweet also denied there had been a leak, saying only: "The issue relates to a mainstream media partner and a malicious individual," without giving further details.
German newspaper Der Spiegel said internal fighting and lax security meant an unencrypted version of the cable file had been released onto the internet, but Wikileaks said this report was "significantly incorrect".
Among the notable disclosures in the cables are:
- The US embassy in Sweden in 2006 reported on allegations that 120 Chinese unaccompanied children had disappeared from Swedish immigration centres since 2004
- US diplomats' in Canberra expressed concern that moderate Australian Muslims could be harbouring extremist views
- the US and Australia discussed ways of blocking Mohamed el-Baradei's re-election as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency
- concern from US officials in Mongolia in 2008 that alcoholism was affecting the country's growth