|FILE - This Aug. 14, 2010 photo shows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Stockholm, Sweden. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday, Nov. 26, 2010 spoke with the Chinese government about the expected release of classified cables by the Wikileaks website. The release of hundreds of thousands of cables is expected this weekend, though Wikileaks has not specified the timing. (AP Photo/Scanpix/Bertil Ericson, File)|
White House condemns WikiLeaks' document release
WASHINGTON—WikiLeaks' decision to release classified U.S. diplomatic files endangers U.S. diplomats, intelligence agents and democratic activists who seek America's help, the White House said Sunday.
Shortly before the statement from presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs, several news organizations posted stories on the Internet based on the hundreds of thousands of classified State Department documents that WikiLeaks had made available to them.
Gibbs said the diplomatic documents, known as cables, contained candid and often incomplete information that didn't express policy and didn't influence decisions.
Still, Gibbs said, such cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders and could "deeply impact" U.S. interests as well as those of allies and friends.
"To be clear, such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government," he said. "These documents also may include named individuals who in many cases live and work under oppressive regimes and who are trying to create more open and free societies."
Gibbs said President Barack Obama supports open and accountable government, but the press secretary called the WikiLeaks action "reckless and dangerous" and counter to that goal.
"By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals," Gibbs said. "We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information."