World leaders condemn, downplay WikiLeaks

Nov. 29, 2010 at 9:15 AM
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LONDON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Reaction around the world was swift, and mostly negative, to the posting of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables by the whistle-blower Web site WikiLeaks.

U.S. officials denounced the publication of the leaked documents Sunday, with one senator calling WikiLeaks' action "despicable" and a threat to global security.

On Monday, Britain's Foreign Office condemned any release of classified documents, CNN reported.

"They can damage national security, are not in the national interest and, as the U.S. (has) said, may put lives at risk," the office said in a statement.

The release includes 251,288 cables sent by U.S. diplomats between the end of 1966 and February 2010, WikiLeaks said in a statement announcing the release. WikiLeaks said 8,017 of the cables originated from the secretary of state's office and more than 15,600 are classified as secret, CNN reported

A spokesman for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari -- who was mentioned in leaked documents with Saudi King Abdallah -- called the leaks "no more than an attempt to create misperceptions between two important and brotherly Muslim countries."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai downplayed the significance of the revelations.

"The things that have been said about President Karzai are not new. They've been alleged in the media in the past and we are not surprised," a Karzai spokesman said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a wait-and-see attitude, CNN said.

"Let's see first what WikiLeaks has at this stage," Erdogan said Monday. "Then we can find out how serious or not serious these are. Because the seriousness of WikiLeaks is suspicious."

The New York Times and four European newspapers that received the documents began publishing excerpts Sunday. WikiLeaks has said the documents will be released in stages "over the next few months" to allow readers to digest them.

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