WASHINGTON Five prominent news organizations which collaborated with WikiLeaks have condemned the website and its founder Julian Assange for making public uncensored copies of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.
The Guardian of London, the New York Times, Der Spiegel magazine, Spain's El Pais and France's Le Monde issued a joint statement on Friday deploring WikiLeaks' decision to publish "unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk."
In a message posted on its Twitter feed, which Assange is believed personally to control, WikiLeaks confirmed on Friday it had released "251,287 US embassy cables in searchable format."
Earlier this week, WikiLeaks issued a lengthy statement accusing a Guardian journalist and a former WikiLeaks spokesman of having "negligently" disclosed top secret passwords to a copy of the cable database which had been floating, unnoticed, around the Internet for months.
For its part, the Guardian said that it "utterly rejects any suggestion that it is responsible for the release of the unedited cables."
New York Times editor Bill Keller told Reuters: "We've never kidded ourselves that we had any control over the behavior of WikiLeaks, and we have taken pains to keep the relationship arm's-length. ... It's sad that -- whether out of a craving for attention, or an absolutist doctrine of 'transparency,' or some more malign motive, I can't judge -- WikiLeaks has decided on this irresponsible course."