The whistleblowing Web site Wikileaks has released more than 250,000 documents filed by U.S. diplomats that detail sensitive information on terrorism and nuclear proliferation. The release comes amid a massive hacking attack against the site.
The site appeared to be down all day Sunday. It took to Twitter to tell readers:
We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack.
Still, it gave five media groups the information and they went ahead and published it, denying the hackers their quest to suppress the documents, if that is what their intention was.
Among the revelations is in-fighting in the Arab world. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran's nuclear program. The documents say King Abdullah is reported to have "frequently exhorted the U.S. to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program."
In response, The New York Times said the documents also say that Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes any military strike on Iran would only delay its pursuit of a nuclear weapon by one to three years.
The Times says the documents show Saudi donors remain chief financiers of militant groups like Al Qaeda, and that Qatar, which has hosted the American military for years, was the "worst in the region" in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable.
The documents also detail alleged cyberattacks on the United States directed by China. The papers say the government ordered an intrusion into Google's computer systems, part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by Chinese government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws. It included American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses.
The White House condemned the release of the documents, saying they could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and leaders. In a written statement, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the release...
"...could deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests but those of our allies and friends around the world.
"To be clear -- such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.
"By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals. We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information."
However, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said the U.S. government is afraid of being held accountable.