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WikiLeaks releases full searchable US secret cable files

On purpose this time, following Twitter poll

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WikiLeaks published its full cache of unredacted US diplomatic cables on Friday.

The decision to release the 251,287 US embassy cables in searchable format follows in the wake of revelations that a book by a Guardian journalist published in February disclosed the secret key to the raw archive file which became available on file-sharing networks. WikiLeaks made the decision to release the archive in full following an internet poll on its Twitter followers whose results supported the move.

"Given that the full database file is downloadable from hundreds of sites there is only one internally rational action," WikiLeaks said, adding that it wants to use crowdsourcing techniques to hunt for juicy nuggets in the vast treasure trove of information.

"Tweet important cable discoveries with #wlfind. The entire world press does not have enough resources and there are substantial biases," it said.

The Guardian strongly condemned the move saying that the unredacted documents identified activists and US intelligence agents, leaving them at risk of arrest or retribution. The initial release of extracts from the cables last November happened in conjunction with five international media partners: The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde. The "partners" worked with the whistle-blowing site to publish carefully selected and redacted excerpts from the cables.

WikiLeaks has since fallen out with the The New York Times and The Guardian. Relations between the whistle-blowers and the Graun first began to sour after the liberal paper began investigating details of the sexual assault allegations against founder Julian Assange, which remain the subject of Swedish extradition proceedings. The relationship, already on shaky ground, went further downhill after Guardian investigative hack David Leigh published the secret passphrase to a raw cablegate archive in his book on the whistle-blowing site. It was this archive that subsequently made its way onto the torrents and then other locations on the internet, meaning that anyone who could find it could read it.

The problem was known about for months but only received mainstream attention following reports in German news magazines last week. WikiLeaks responded to the now public problem by threatening legal action against The Guardian for negligence. The paper stated that it had been told the PGP passphrase only allowed temporary access to a encrypted copy of the files on a secret (soon to be deleted) directory of the WikiLeaks site, a contention WikiLeaks argues demonstrates technical ineptitude on the part of the paper.

"It is false that the passphrase was temporary or was ever described as such. That is not how PGP files work. Ask any expert," said the leaker organisation. ®

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