2010-11-27 "The Embassy Files" ready for launch [Update 4]

Der Spiegel: Q & A: What the diplomatic cables actually reveal

Der Spiegel has posted a Q&A about the 'Embassy Files' release. Among the details:

  • Included are 251,287 cables and 8,000 diplomatic directives
  • One cable dates back to 1966, but most are newer than 2004
  • 9,005 documents date from the first two months of 2010
  • Der Spiegel, The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde and El País have had access to the files and reviewed them.

None of the documents are classified 'Top Secret', but only 'Secret' at the highest classification rating. This was also confirmed by Politico's White House correspondent Mike Allen on Twitter, quoting the US administration.

According to Der Spiegel, just over half of the cables are not subject to classification, 40.5 percent are classified as "confidential" and only six percent or 15,652 dispatches as "secret." 2.5 million U.S. employees have access to SIPRNET material, where these cables originated.

A graphical representation of the worldwide distribution of the cables appears on the Spiegel site.

Der Spiegel is expected to go live with the full edition at 22:30 Sunday, local time, according to a front page announcement.

Read more

Update: Spiegel article may have been posted too early. It appears to have been taken down at the moment.

OWNI launches live-blog and document portal

OWNI has launched its own live-blog to cover the 'Embassy Files' release:
English version: [Live] Statelogs: A new world?
French version: [Live] Statelogs: Un nouveau monde?

"Together with Le Soir in Brussels and Slate.fr in Paris, we will provide the tools and context to explore the logs," said OWNI. The OWNI log-browsing application will go live in a few hours.

Le Soir is hosting its own "BEkileaks" blog to report on documents concerning Belgium: http://blog.lesoir.be/wikileaks/

Update 1: According to OWNI sources, only between 500-1000 documents concern France.

The Guardian gets ready

Update 2: The Guardian's investigative editor David Leigh noted on Twitter: "The truth about the #wikileaks cables is going to come out in the #guardian soon"

Update 3: Further update from David Leigh on Twitter: "UK Sunday papers have got it all wrong about #wikileaks #embassy cables. Not worth reading. Wait for the #guardian!"

The US State Department responds

Update 4: The State Department made available to the media late on Saturday a letter that legal counsel Harold Koh wrote to Julian Assange and his attorneys with regards to the upcoming release. The State Department said this was in reponse to a letter received from Julian Assange on Friday addressing concerns related to the release and asking for information on individuals who might be at risk of harm.

AFP: "We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained US government classified materials," State Department legal adviser Harold Koh wrote. "As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorisation, they were provided in violation of US law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action," Koh continued. "As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing."

Further details on AFP and Politico.

The Washington Post has made available a PDF of the State Department letter: download.

The BBC's Kim Ghattas notes on Twitter: "Senior US official tells me Assange offered to negotiate limited redactions State Dept replied no negotiations, publication violates US law."

The US Ambassador to Berlin, Philip Murphy, has published an open letter in Bild am Sontag. One of our editors reports on the letter.

Further updates as we get them.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer