US Trying to Plug the wiki Leaks


Pentagon investigators "are desperately searching" for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, to try and prevent the publication of over 260,000 diplomatic cables that were allegedly leaked by intelligence analyst Bradley Manning.

US Government officials told the Daily Beast that they are trying to locate Assange as publication of the documents could do major damage to national security. It is not clear what they will be able to do to prevent publication, but officials said that they would "like his cooperation in this."

US officials believe that Assange is in possession of the cables, which Manning had boasted about leaking to Adrian Lamo, a former hacker. Lamo had turned Manning in after the analyst contacted him for advice via Instant Messaging. Manning revealed that he had leaked secure diplomatic information to the site as well as the video that became known as 'Collateral Murder', which shows US helicopters shooting dead Reuters journalists.

He had written to Lamo that: “Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public.”

According to the Daily Beast, Manning's role had given him access to cables prepared by US diplomats working in the Middle East about Arab governments and their leaders. US officials fear that the release of the cables could reveal the "source and methods" of American intelligence-gathering.

One of the Daily Beast sources, a US diplomat said that “If he really had access to these cables, we've got a terrible situation on our hands. We're still trying to figure out what he had access to. A lot of my colleagues overseas are sweating this out, given what those cables may contain.”

US diplomats also fear that foreign leaders will now read what US diplomats wrote about them to each other, which could well be substantially less favourable than public statements.

WikiLeaks has already denied possession of the cables and has said that they are unaware if Manning is their source, but will defend him regardless. Manning is currently being detained in Kuwait for leaking sensitive materials to unclassified persons.

WikiLeaks had previously been identified as a threat to US interests in a leaked 2008 counter-intelligence document, which stated that efforts should be made to discourage potential sources to the site and should counter the site's use of “trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers or whisteblowers.”

The report suggests that this strength could be countered by “the identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers" which "could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Web site".

Words: Dara