LONDON — WikiLeaks disclosed its entire archive of U.S. State Department cables on Friday, much if not all of it uncensored — a move that drew stinging condemnation from major newspapers that in the past collaborated with the antisecrecy group's efforts to expose corruption and double-dealing.
Many media outlets, including the Associated Press, previously had access to all or part of the uncensored tome. But WikiLeaks' decision to post the 251,287 cables on its website makes potentially sensitive diplomatic sources available to anyone, anywhere. U.S. officials have warned the disclosures could jeopardize vulnerable people such as opposition figures or human rights campaigners.
A joint statement published on the Guardian's website said that the British publication and its international counterparts — the New York Times, France's Le Monde, Germany's Der Spiegel and Spain's El Pais — "deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk."
They said the decision to publish was made by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Previously, international media outlets — and WikiLeaks itself — had redacted the names of potentially vulnerable sources. But now many of the cables posted to the WikiLeaks website carried unredacted names. In a series of messages on Twitter, WikiLeaks suggested it had no choice but to publish the archive because copies of it were circulating online after a security breach.