WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has told a Berlin audience by video call that he had had no choice last week but to publish a quarter of a million U.S. diplomatic cables with the source names included.
There has been a storm over the publication of the un-redacted cables because hundreds of named people who spoke frankly to U.S. diplomats may face repression or worse from authoritarian governments.
“There’s nothing else we could have done,” said Mr. Assange in the video link up the IFA consumer-electronics trade fair in Berlin from England, where he is confined to a Norfolk house under bail conditions.
Mr. Assange said he did not believe any major harm would be done to the informants, since they had had one year to prepare for the day since the time WikiLeaks had disclosed it possessed the cables.
He asserted that U.S. diplomats would have warned them of the danger. WikiLeaks published full cables itself after copies which were said to be beyond its control began to circulate.
Mr. Assange again blamed The Guardian of London for compromising the secrecy of the cables, saying the newspaper’s reporter, David Leigh, had been told the password to the file was confidential and never to be written down. Leigh published the password in a book.
The Guardian responds that Mr. Assange said the password was only a temporary one.