Wikileaks Release Set For Next Few Hours
One of the newspapers working with Wikileaks confirmed Sunday that it planned to publish details of the whistle-blower website's latest release of confidential documents in its Monday edition.
Simon Hoggart, a journalist from The Guardian told the BBC that the publication would be an "embarrassment" for the British prime minister, among other world leaders.
Hoggart was thought to be referring to the British newspaper's printed edition, although online versions of the story could appear as soon as Sunday.
A message on Der Spiegel's website suggests a simultaneous release will come at 4.30pm ET. The German weekly, which has seen the documents, advises readers that its online edition for week 48 will appear exceptionally online at 22:30 local time Sunday.
The United States late Saturday rejected talks with WikiLeaks over the planned release, saying Wikileaks was holding the documents in violation of US law.
The whistle-blower website announced last week it was planning on releasing a larger cache of documents relating to the Iraq War than it did last month, when it published an unprecedented 400,000 classified US documents. In July, it posted 77,000 secret US files on the Afghan conflict.
A statement released by the State Department Press Office late Saturday revealed that WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange had written to the department about the US government's concern that the release of classified documents placed individual persons at risk.
In a response to Assange, released to the media, State Department legal advisor Harold Koh rejected negotiating with WikiLeaks over the documents: "We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained US Government classified materials.
"As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of US law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action. As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing.
"It is our understanding from conversations with representatives from The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, that WikiLeaks also has provided approximately 250,000 documents to each of them for publication, furthering the illegal dissemination of classified documents."
Koh said publication of documents of this nature at a minimum would place at risk the "lives of countless innocent individuals," ongoing military operations and international co-operation.
"Despite your stated desire to protect ... lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals.
"If you are genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from your actions, you should: 1) ensure WikiLeaks ceases publishing any and all such materials; 2) ensure WikiLeaks returns any and all classified US Government material in its possession; and 3) remove and destroy all records of this material from WikiLeaks' databases."