WikiLeaks reveals Irish sites vital to US security
Two Irish locations have been named by secret-spilling website WikiLeaks in a list of worldwide sites the US deems vital to its national security.
The locations are the Hibernia Atlantic transatlantic communications cable linking the US to Ireland and the Waterford-based bio-tech plant Genzyme.
The news comes as an international arrest warrant is expected to be served on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today.
This is the second time Ireland has been caught up in the international diplomatic crisis caused by the website's release of 250,000 secret messages sent from US embassies worldwide.
Publication of the information has prompted criticism that WikiLeaks is helping militants identify targets for attack through its disclosures.
The 12,200km Hibernia Atlantic cable is a transatlantic submarine broadband system linking North America with Ireland, the UK and Europe.
Genzyme's 37-acre biotechnology site is a subsidiary of a Massachusetts-based multinational, which employs just over 460 people outside Waterford city.
It produces Thymoglobulin, a kidney transplant rejection treatment product, as well as other products.
Neither Genzyme nor Hibernia Atlantic would comment on the leaks yesterday.
Lawyers for Julian Assange will be contacted by Scotland Yard detectives today in the first stage of extradition proceedings that could lead to the WikiLeaks founder being handed over to the Swedish authorities over sex offence allegations.
This morning, City of Westminister magistrates are expected to give force to a European Arrest Warrant, which names Mr Assange, believed to be residing in South-east England, as a suspect in a case in which two women claim they were sexually attacked by him when he visited Sweden in August this year.
But, last night Mr Assange's lawyers said their client would fight any extradition proceedings.
Yesterday US prosecutors were weighing their own legal options in the wake of the latest WikiLeaks disclosures, which America said had put Western security at risk.
The US attorney general, Eric Holder, said the Obama administration was considering using laws, in addition to the Espionage Act, to prosecute him over the release of sensitive information by WikiLeaks.