Wikileaks ‘incredibly responsible’: Australian Attorney General

Added by on August 30, 2011

Part of Wikileaks site displaying cable containing names of 23 Australians

Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland broke his government’s silence about Wikileaks on Tuesday, calling the whistle-blowing website ‘irresponsible’ for publishing unredacted cables that include the names of 23 Australians thought to have links to terrorism.

Wikileaks published 134,000 leaked diplomatic cables on Monday, the largest set of US State Department documents released to date. The release of the documents comes amid reports that an encrypted file containing all 250 000 unredacted diplomatic cables had been posted on the Internet, along with a file containing the password to decrypt the file.

Wikileaks published cables from the US Embassy in Canberra, among a large number of other cables on Monday.

Among the released cables is one that includes a total of 23 names of Australians recommended to be placed on ‘no fly’ and ‘selectee’ lists, due to possible links with terrorist groups.

Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland said, “…on occasions past, Wikileaks has decided to redact identifying features where security operations or safety could be put at risk. “This has not happened in this case.

“The publication of any information that could compromise Australia’s national security – or inhibit the ability of intelligence agencies to monitor potential threats – is incredibly irresponsible.'”

The cable said, “The 23 individuals are Australian citizens, or are Australia-based, and are of security interest because they have either an historical or current association with Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, or are based in Yemen or the surrounding region and may come into contact with al-Aulaqi. The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) provided the names and the Embassy Visas Viper committee met on 19 January 2010 to discuss the names.”

Aulaqi is is an American citizen at large in Yemen with links to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The cable, by current US ambassador Jeffrey Bleich, includes names, dates of birth, sex, Passport numbers, US Visa status, and embassy recommendations.


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