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Leak of vital sites list condemned

The Government has condemned the decision by WikiLeaks to publish a secret list of facilities that the US considers vital to national security.

The website revealed a detailed list of installations worldwide including a number of sites in the UK such as satellite sites, BAE Systems plants and cable locations.

The latest leak lists hundreds of pipelines, undersea cables and factories, including a cobalt mine in Congo, an anti-snake venom factory in Australia and an insulin plant in Denmark.

A Downing Street spokesman said this morning: "We unequivocally condemn the unauthorised release of classified information. The leaks and their publication are damaging to national security in the United States, Britain and elsewhere.

"It is vital that governments are able to operate on the basis of confidentiality of information."

A spokeswoman for BAE Systems, which owns three UK sites included on the list, said: "BAE Systems recognises its role as a custodian of key industrial and military assets. We would be concerned at any activity which compromises this."

The latest revelations come as the lawyer for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange vowed to fight moves to extradite his client from the UK to Sweden. Swedish authorities are seeking to question Mr Assange regarding sex allegations, which his lawyer Mark Stephens has denounced as a "political stunt".

Mr Stephens said Mr Assange would "certainly" fight deportation on the grounds that it could lead to him being handed over to the US, where senior politicians have called for him to be executed.

He said that the WikiLeaks site - which was last week forced to move to a Swiss host after being dumped by US internet companies - had come under siege from "a huge number of cyber-attacks".

The organisation held further secret material which it regarded as a "thermo-nuclear device" to be released if it needs to protect itself, he said.

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