WASHINGTON — Julian Assange, the beleaguered founder of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, has threatened to release many more confidential diplomatic cables if legal action is taken against him or his organization. Mr. Assange’s threat poses a problem for the Obama administration as it explores ways to prosecute Mr. Assange or the group.Read the rest here.
On Monday, as Mr. Assange’s lawyers said he would meet with the British police about criminal charges involving sexual encounters in Sweden, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the Justice Department had “a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature” into the WikiLeaks matter.
“I authorized just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable,” he said at a news conference, declining to elaborate.
Mr. Holder’s statement followed Mr. Assange’s assertion that “over 100,000 people” had been given the entire archive of 251,287 cables “in encrypted form.”
“If something happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically,” Mr. Assange said Friday in a question-and-answer session on the Web site of the British newspaper The Guardian.
His threat is not idle, because as of Monday night the group had released fewer than 1,000 of the quarter-million State Department cables it had obtained, reportedly from a low-ranking Army intelligence analyst.
So far, the group has moved cautiously. The whole archive was made available to five news organizations, including The New York Times. But WikiLeaks has posted only a few dozen cables on its own in addition to matching those made public by the news publications. According to the State Department’s count, 1,325 cables, or fewer than 1 percent of the total, have been made public by all parties to date.