U.S. relocates some people named in WikiLeaks cables

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 7, 2011 4:18pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has warned several hundred people worldwide it believes may be imperiled by WikiLeaks' release of classified U.S. diplomatic cables and has so far helped a handful of them relocate to safer locations, the State Department said on Friday.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said those at risk could include civil society activists, journalists or government officials whose discussions with U.S. officials as recounted by WikiLeaks could anger foreign governments or other political forces.

"We are focused on people who have been identified in documents and assess whether there is a greater risk to them of violence, imprisonment or other serious harm, particularly in repressive societies around the world," Crowley told reporters.

"We've identified several hundred people worldwide that we feel are at potential risk," Crowley said. "In a small number of cases, we have assisted people moving from where they are to safer locations." He did not say if any of the people involved had cited a specific threat.

Crowley declined to discuss specifics of the U.S. help for those involved but said U.S. officials were monitoring the situation. He added the United States had warned foreign governments not to seek reprisals against those named in WikiLeaks releases.

"In particular cases we have made it clear to governments that any adverse actions against individuals identified by WikiLeaks will affect future relations with those governments," he said.

Crowley said the United States was not revealing the identities of those involved but that "in certain cases, the people who might be identified are already well known to us and well known to specific governments."

The United States is examining whether criminal charges can be brought against WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange for helping to make public hundreds of thousands of confidential U.S. documents.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has led the effort to mollify foreign governments, some of which have been deeply embarrassed by the publication of candid U.S. diplomatic assessments, and has accused WikiLeaks of acting without regard for the safety of those named in the cables.

Crowley said the State Department had formed a special team to assess the potential risks posed to individuals by the WikiLeaks releases, which have been made through a number of media organizations.

The White House, Pentagon and State Department have said they are tightening up procedures to ensure such disclosures do not occur again.

(Reporting by Andrew Quinn; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (6)
electric38 wrote:
Good move, as others have promised to continue Wikileaks type reporting. The American people have a right to know whats going on in private between those that have been put in overseas negotiation by the power of money – not votes.

Jan 07, 2011 5:22pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Rfairb wrote:
Nice stunt by the public relations people. All this is unproven propaganda points- but anyone who has been instrumental in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan who has conceivably been inconvenienced by Wikileaks fully deserves it. The deaths of a million plus Iraqis and Afghans weighs much more than a few opportunistic scum-feeders.

Jan 07, 2011 9:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
brian-decree wrote:
Sounds like propaganda to me… why would you bother releasing this information to the press unless you’ve actually got some details to release??
It stinks.

They’ve threatened other countries not to prosecute Americans exposed by Wikileaks, really…? sounds like george w bush is back in office doing his – “with us or against us” thing again..

Global dictators.

Jan 07, 2011 9:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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