Monday 18 December 2017

America fears backlash over new Wikileaks files

Robert Burns in Washington

The Obama administration said yesterday it has alerted Congress and begun notifying foreign governments that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive US diplomatic files that could damage US relations with friends and allies across the globe.

"These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said. "They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world."

In anticipation of the posting of the leaked diplomatic cables by the self-styled whistle-blower website, US diplomatic outposts around the world have begun notifying other governments that it may happen within days, Mr Crowley told reporters.

The release is expected to happen this weekend, although WikiLeaks has not specified the timing. Mr Crowley said the State Department "has known all along" that WikiLeaks possesses classified State Department documents.

"We wish this would not happen, but we are obviously prepared for the possibility that it will," he said.

In two previous releases of leaked secret US government documents, in July and October, WikiLeaks provided them in advance to The New York Times, the Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel.

The first leak contained thousands of military field reports on the war in Afghanistan; the second was a similar but larger file on the Iraq war.

On July 29 he was transferred to a brig at Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia.

One concern about the next release is that the documents may reveal the pressure the Obama administration has put on nations to accept the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been allowed go home but are unwelcome in their countries.

Irish Independent

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