Federal Attorney-General slams WikiLeaks again

Release of Yemen-related cable a threat to national security

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland has again labelled the release of thousands of US embassy cables by WikiLeaks as a threat to national security.

“The Australian Government is on the record as saying the large-scale distribution of hundreds of thousands of classified United States Government documents is reckless, irresponsible and potentially dangerous,” McLelland said in a statement.

He added that the government’s position was to not comment on material published by WikiLeaks, but was in this instance making an exception due to the decision by WikiLeaks not to remove information which could be used to identify specific people.

“On occasions in the past, Wikileaks has decided to redact identifying features where security operations or safety could be put at risk," McClelland said.

"This has not occurred 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 latest release of cables is understood to contain one suggesting 11 Australians be placed on a no-fly list and 12 on a watchlist due to potential links to terrorism in Yemen.

“The Government condemns the publication of any document that could seriously impact Australia’s national security,” McClelland said.

“It is long-standing practice not to comment on individuals who may or may not be of security concern or on matters of national security.”

Last week, author Suelette Dreyfus argued the release of diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks had given people more insight into how the US government works.

Dreyfus is author of Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier, which features the exploits of Mendax — the hacker handle of WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange.

The release of another US embassy cable by Wikileaks prompted US authorities to meet with European officials on behalf of Oracle with regard to its $US7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems, it was revealed this week.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @Tlohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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