WikiLeaks and The Guardian, who previously worked together in publishing leaked secret American diplomatic cables, were on Friday involved in a growing row after the whistle-blowing website blamed a security breach of its operations on its former partner — more specifically on the contents of a book “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy'' by two Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding.
The breach led to 251,000 secret cables becoming available online without redaction to protect sources. The Guardian dismissed as “nonsense'' the claim that its book had “compromised'' WikiLeaks' security in any way.
The claim was made in a long statement put out by WikiLeaks. “A Guardian journalist has negligently disclosed top secret WikiLeaks' decryption passwords to hundreds of thousands of unredacted unpublished US diplomatic cables. Knowledge of the Guardian disclosure has spread privately over several months but reached critical mass last week.''
The statement said so far WikiLeaks had been “in the unenviable position of not being able to comment on what has happened, since to do so would be to draw attention to the decryption passwords in the Guardian book''. But it had decided to break its silence “now that the connection has been made public by others''. The Guardian denied it pointing out its book contained only one temporary password and “no details of the location of the files''. “It's nonsense to suggest the Guardian's WikiLeaks book has compromised security in anyway. Our book about WikiLeaks was published last February. It contained a password, but no details of the location of the files, and we were told it was temporary password which would expire and be deleted in a matter of hours. It was a meaningless piece of information to anyone except the person(s) who created the database. No concerns were expressed when the book was published and if anyone at WikiLeaks had thought this compromised security they have had seven months to remove the files. That they didn't do so clearly shows the problem was not caused by the Guardian's book.''