Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Wikileaks: We won't stop publishing

Wikileaks

Online whistleblower WikiLeaks has vowed to continue publishing more secret files from governments around the world despite US demands to cancel plans to release classified military documents.

"I can assure you that we will keep publishing documents - that's what we do," a WikiLeaks spokesman, who said he goes by the name Daniel Schmitt in order to protect his identity, said.

Mr Schmitt said he could not comment on any specific documents but asserted that the publication of classified documents about the Afghanistan war directly contributed to the public's understanding of the conflict.

"Knowledge about ongoing issues like the war in Afghanistan is the only way to help create something like safety," he said. "Hopefully with this understanding, public scrutiny will then influence governments to develop better politics."

He rejected claims that the group's publication of leaked US government documents was a threat to America's national security or put lives at risk.

"For this reason, we conveyed a request to the White House prior to the publication, asking that the International Security Assistance Force provide us with reviewers," he said. "That request remains open. However, the Pentagon has stated that it is not interested in 'harm minimisation' and has not contacted us, directly, or indirectly to discuss this offer."

The Pentagon has maintained that the US Defence Department had no direct contact with WikiLeaks about possible efforts to redact those documents to make them less of a security threat. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said last month that it was "absolutely, unequivocally not true" that WikiLeaks had offered to let US government officials go through the documents to make sure no innocent people were identified.

The Pentagon demanded on Thursday that WikiLeaks cancel any plan to publish more classified military documents and pull back tens of thousands of secret Afghan war logs already posted on the internet.

The demand to stop publishing more classified documents, which the Pentagon has no independent power to enforce, is primarily aimed at preventing release of approximately 15,000 secret documents that the website WikiLeaks has said it is holding and possibly classified US State Department cables.

The Pentagon also hopes to stop WikiLeaks from making public the contents of a mammoth encrypted file recently added to the site. Contents of that file remain a mystery and Mr Schmitt did not want to comment specifically on the content of a file the group posted online with the label "Insurance" in recent days. He said only that "we regularly distribute back-ups of documents that have not been published ... This one has just been placed on a very popular site right now to make sure that it has been distributed as widely as possible".

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