Cablegate: WikiLeaks release all US diplomatic cables

251,000 leaked files expose US contacts abroad

WikiLeaks has published 251,000 unredacted diplomatic cables, potentially placing US contacts, such as diplomats and human rights workers, in harm's way

WikiLeaks has announced the publication of all 251,000 of its US Embassy diplomatic cables, causing outrage in the US government and WikiLeaks' five major media partners.

The five papers that had been collaborating with WikiLeaks - The Guardian, The New York Times, France's Le Monde, Spain's El Pais and Germany's Der Spiegel - released a joint statement condemning the move, calling the decision "deplorable".

They had previously published material provided by WikiLeaks, editing the content to protect names and identities of those the stories might expose to danger. Many of the cables making up 'Cablegate' reportedly forego such precautions, leaving US contacts in foreign countries and governments exposed.

"We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted state department cables, which may put sources at risk." The joint statement reads. "Our previous dealings with WikiLeaks were on the clear basis that we would only publish cables which had been subjected to a thorough joint editing and clearance process... We cannot defend the needless publication of the complete data – indeed, we are united in condemning it."

The cables are believed to contain the identities of dozens of activists and contacts marked specifically by the US as needing their identities protected. Also included in the cables are the identities of victims of sexual attacks, victims of government persecution, and the locations of sensitive government facilities.

Reporters Without Borders was similarly damning over Wikileaks' actions. Before Cablegate, the organisation had been keeping a mirror site of all WikiLeaks' content, but in the wake of the new publications released a statement saying: "While it has not been demonstrated that lives have so far been put in danger by these revelations, the repercussions they could have for informants, such as dismissal, physical attacks and other reprisals, cannot be neglected."

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, is currently on bail in the UK awaiting extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault. Last year, it was revealed that Apple had removed the Wikileaks app from its AppStore. Whether this latest release of information will spark new legal action - or indeed, any more serious repercussions - remains to be seen.