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10 Jun, 2010 00:16

WikiLeaks "leak" may be worse than expected

A video released by WikiLeaks showing an American helicopter attack in Baghdad in 2007 that left 12 people dead, including two employees of Reuters, is possibly only the beginning of the information the organization has.

The individual who allegedly leaked the content, 22-year-old Bradley Manning from Potomac, Maryland, supposedly downloaded 260,000 State Department diplomatic cables. The documents contain highly classified information.

I’m to understand this is years and years of communications among American diplomats about American foreign policy, presumably it’s them talking fairly openly and honestly about what they think of foreign leaders and American foreign policy,” said Philip Shenon, an author and contributor at The Daily Beast.

If these diplomatic documents are made public it could be embarrassing, possibly destructive, to American foreign policy, given the candid content that may be held in them, argued Shenon.

The US government has few legal options when it comes to independent journalism sites, like WikiLeaks, that choose to publish content to which it has gained access. WikiLeaks makes it easy to publish documents and news quickly and easily, which can be frightening to some in the US government.

WikiLeaks however contends that they do not have the supposedly leaked diplomatic documents which leave some to wonder where they ended up.

Sites like Wikileaks can be a source for good, as they expose wrongdoings that would not have been uncovered otherwise. More mainstream websites are trying to emulate this type of a news approach as they invite viewers and readers to send in their own reports, tips and videos.

WikiLeaks is, to some extent, picking up where mainstream media is letting off,” said Shenon.