WikiLeaks disclosed its entire archive of U.S. State Department cables Friday, much if not all of it uncensored - a move that drew stinging condemnation from major newspapers which in the past collaborated with the anti-secrecy group's efforts to expose corruption and double-dealing.
Many media outlets, including The Associated Press, previously had access to all or part of the uncensored tome. But WikiLeaks' decision to post the 251,287 cables on its website makes potentially sensitive diplomatic sources available to anyone, anywhere at the stroke of a key. American officials have warned that the disclosures could jeopardize vulnerable people such as opposition figures or human rights campaigners.
A joint statement published on the Guardian's website said that the British publication and its international counterparts - The New York Times, France's Le Monde, Germany's Der Spiegel and Spain's El Pais - "deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk."
Previously, international media outlets - and WikiLeaks itself - had redacted the names of potentially vulnerable sources, although the standard has varied and some experts warned that even people whose names had been kept out of the cables were still at risk.
But now many, and possibly even all, of the cables posted to the WikiLeaks website carried unredacted names.