December 8th, 2010
02:29 PM ET

Fraction of 1 percent of WikiLeaks cables released

Although it may seem as though WikiLeaks has flooded the Web with a mind-boggling number of classified diplomatic cables, the site says it has actually published only a fraction of 1 percent of the trove of secret State Department information it has.

WikiLeaks claims to have an archive of 251,287 cables. It has published fewer than 1,000.

Julian Assange, the face and founder of the Web site, was arrested Tuesday in Britain on a sex crime case in Sweden - a case separate from WikiLeaks.

One of his attorneys, Jennifer Robinson, said that the remaining contents of the State Department trove will continue to be published "unabated as scheduled, in a very orderly fashion" in the coming months. The documents could even be released in parts throughout 2011 in conjunction with media that had advance access to WikiLeaks' documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, as well as the cables, said Robinson.

At least three media organizations have obtained advance copies of WikiLeaks' documents: The Guardian, The New York Times and Germany's Der Spiegel.

Though Assange has been jailed in Great Britain, where he'll remain until a court appearance December 14, WikiLeaks doesn't appear to be deterred.

On Tuesday, more than 70 cables were released online while Assange spent the night behind bars, and more are supposedly coming soon. Several hundred Web sites have popped up that appear to have copied WikiLeaks' data in order to act as "mirror sites."

Hackers have hit back at financial companies that have cut off support to WikiLeaks, and they have attacked the Swedish prosecutors' site. There's talk of a "Poison Pill," a massive mystery file that Assange has said would be released if he or WikiLeaks is hurt.

The story of WikiLeaks can feel overwhelming. Consider that the site has been making headlines since July, when it published more than 90,000 documents that showed, for the first time, a ground-level view of the war in Afghanistan.

The documents are suspected to have come from a U.S. soldier Bradley Manning.

The math just gets more intense. Add 400,000 documents WikiLeaks released in October about the Iraq war. And now this: more than a quarter-million memos U.S. diplomats have written to Washington, correspondence that they presumably thought would never see the light of day.

Some of it falls into the category of amusing; other cables are more serious.

For example, a cable made public Wednesday was sent from the consulate in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where alcohol is banned and carnal relations strictly regulated. The cable discussed a wild party at a Saudi prince's home involving alcohol and "working girls." The cable says, "cocaine and hashish use is common in these social circles and has been seen on other occasions."

Other cables have provided insight into North Korea, revealed important information about Iran's nuclear capabilities and suggested that the State Department asked its diplomats to spy on their counterparts.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq • Julian Assange • Saudi Arabia • U.S. • United Kingdom • WikiLeaks
soundoff (262 Responses)
  1. ginger ale

    I cant believe how stupid some of you are. If they are really advocatine for free speech and flow of info and gov't secrets they wouldn't only target America, they'd target lotsa countries. And imbecile kristann hraffson or however it is spelled trying to manipulate us with her remark that freedom of speech is at risk, well that is What we r engaging in...freedom of speech. They just use whatever elementary school age excuses they can think to further their cyber hitler cause. Hang her, assange, and manning, before they kill more people. Misha has it right they are targeting America...and hiding behind their stupid "we're just trying to promote honesty" rhetoric. Mentally ill degenerates, histrionics. Anybody w any ethics should stand up against their desired pathway to worldwide problems, war, and potential murder. Good job paypal,amazon, mastercard! Keep it up urawesome standing up against warmonger low lifes!

    December 10, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      They're probably targeting America the most because its the biggest military industrial complex and has produced a vast amount of the lies. This has EVERYTHING to do with free speech. If my government is using my tax dollars to kill innocent civilians and conduct secret wars-I have the right to know about it.

      December 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NYer

    If all of the diplomats just communicated with each other on Facebook no one would be paying any attention.

    December 12, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
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