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December 23rd, 2010

Entire Cache Of US Diplomatic Cables Leaked From WikiLeaks

Norway’s leading newspaper, Aftenposten, claims to have obtained the entire cache of 250,000 U.S. State Department cables believed to be in WikiLeaks’ possession, without any strings attached.

WikiLeaks has been gradually releasing cables instead of dumping the whole archive, in order to give each of them the public attention they deserve. In order to do this, the organization has partnered up with some of the world’s largest newspapers, The New York Times (US), The Guardian (UK), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany) and El Pais (Spain).

These publications are granted access to the diplomatic cables in advance under certain conditions, like coordinating the publishing of their articles with WikiLeaks’ public release of the files they refer to.

According to Ole Erik Almlid, managing editor at Aftenposten, the newspaper has collaborated with the Swedish Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), in order to get early access to the 2,000 documents released so far. However, the Norwegian publication claims to now have all the 250,000 in its possession without any obligation whatsoever to WikiLeaks.

“We have worked hard to get the documents, but it would be wrong of me to disclose who is the source,” Almlid says [approximate translation]. “We didn’t pay for the material, to which gained access under no conditions. It is we who decide what to publish and how to handle it,” he adds.

Almlid stresses that Aftenposten will apply the same publishing guidelines for articles based on the newly obtained documents as it does for all of its other stories. This means that it will edit stuff out based on ethical principles, in order to protect people’s privacy or security, and that it will only publish the stories it considers newsworthy.

The journalistic role of WikiLeaks has been criticized in the past because it dumps raw documents, regardless of whether they are significant to the general public or not. The efficiency of it’s harm minimization process has also been questioned.

Aftenposten has already started publishing stories based on cables that WikiLeaks hasn’t yet released, so their it is very likely that their claim about having the documents is real.

Leaving the irony of the situation aside, it will be interesting to see how WikiLeaks responds to this apparent security breach, especially since Julian Assange is known for keeping a tight rein over the organization.

Credit: News

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