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WikiLeaks lists sites key to U.S. security

WikiLeaks lists sites key to U.S. security

WikiLeaks lists sites key to U.S. security
WikiLeaks lists sites key to U.S. security

WikiLeaks has published a secret U.S. diplomatic cable listing sites abroad that the U.S. considers vital to its national security, prompting criticism that the website is inviting terrorist attacks on American interests.

The list is part of a lengthy cable the State Department sent in February 2009 to its posts around the world. The cable asked American diplomats to identify key resources, facilities and installations outside the United States “whose loss could critically impact the public health, economic security, and/or national and homeland security of the United States.”

WikiLeaks lists sites key to U.S. security

The diplomats identified dozens of places on every continent, including mines, manufacturing complexes, ports and research establishments. CNN is not publishing specific details from the list, which refers to pipelines and undersea telecommunications cables as well as the location of minerals or chemicals critical to U.S. industry.

The list also mentions dams close to the U.S. border and a telecommunications hub whose destruction might seriously disrupt global communications. Diplomats also identified sites of strategic importance for supplying U.S. forces and interests abroad, such as in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf and the Panama Canal.

The cable is classified secret and not for review by non-U.S. personnel.

The United States and Great Britain condemned the disclosure.

“There are strong and valid reasons information is classified, including critical infrastructure and key resources that are vital to the national and economic security of any country,” U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told The Times newspaper in London.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, “may be directing his efforts at the United States but he is placing the interests of many countries and regions at risk,” the paper quoted Crowley as saying. “This is irresponsible.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement that the publication is “damaging to national security in the United States, Britain and elsewhere.”

The list is ” a gift to any terrorist (group) trying to work out what are the ways in which it can damage the United States,” said Malcolm Rifkind, chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee in Britain.

“It is grossly improper and irresponsible” for Assange and his website to publish that information, he said.

WikiLeaks, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, published the list of sensitive sites as part of a larger disclosure of what it says are 250,000 U.S. State Department documents that were never meant for public view. The site began publishing the first of those quarter-million documents last week.

Since then, the site has been hit with denial-of-service attacks, which seek to make a website unavailable. It also has been kicked off servers in the United States and France, and it lost a major revenue source on Friday, when U.S.-based PayPal cut off its account.

On Sunday, WikiLeaks appealed to supporters worldwide to mirror its website, saying the site “is under heavy attack. In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove WikiLeaks from the Internet, we need your help.”

In a tweet sent on the microblogging site Twitter Sunday night, WikiLeaks said it had 355 mirror sites, but a link in the tweet listed 208 mirror sites.

Assange, 39, is wanted by Swedish authorities on allegations of sex crimes, including rape. He has denied the allegations, but his whereabouts have been undisclosed since WikiLeaks began publishing the documents last week.

Investigators have focused much of their effort on finding Assange in Britain, where U.S. investigative activity is being conducted by the Defense Department, a senior law enforcement official said Friday

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