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US Attorney General Says WikiLeaks Puts Americans at Risk

Attorney General Eric Holder takes part in a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, 06 Dec 2010
Attorney General Eric Holder takes part in a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, 06 Dec 2010

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the release of thousands of classified U.S. documents and cables by the WikiLeaks organization has put Americans at risk.  But Holder would not say what steps he has taken to deal with the leaks.

At a Washington news conference, Attorney General Holder said he condemned in the strongest terms the ongoing leaks of documents by WikiLeaks and said an active criminal investigation remains underway.

"The national security of the United States has been put at risk," said Holder.  "The lives of people who work for the American people have been put at risk.  The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that I believe are arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way."

Holder said he recently authorized a number of steps related to the WikiLeaks investigation, but would not detail those steps when pressed by reporters at the Justice Department.

"With regard to all the tactics that we can do or can use to ameliorate the consequences of these actions, I do not want to get into those as well," he added.  "But we will do everything that we can both to hold people accountable and to minimize the harm that will befall the American people."

Some members of Congress have called for the Obama administration to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but legal experts say that presents numerous difficulties for the Justice Department.

Assange is not an American citizen, and in the past the United States has usually gone after U.S. government officials responsible for leaking documents, not outsiders who receive the information and pass it on to others.

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