News / USA

WikiLeaks Makes Leaked US Documents Searchable

WikiLeaks Makes Leaked US Documents Searchablei
April 09, 2013 10:38 AM
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is back in the news with the publication of nearly two million unclassified U.S. diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s. Three years ago, WikiLeaks published more than a quarter of a million classified diplomatic cables, creating a controversy over their release. Assange, who is seeking refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges, held a news conference via skype to make the announcement. More from VOA's Carolyn Presutti.
WikiLeaks Makes Leaked US Documents Searchable
Meredith Buel
The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has launched a new database containing 1.7 million documents from the U.S. State Department that were declassified, but were difficult for the public to access. 
WikiLeaks is calling the searchable collection the “Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy," bringing together diplomatic and intelligence documents that previously could only be accessed through the National Archives.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told reporters via video link from the Ecuadorian embassy in London that the documents were hidden in what he called the borderline between secrecy and complexity.
“This material that we have published today is the single most significant geopolitical publication that has ever existed," he said.

The database gives the public access to diplomatic cables from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976, including communications sent by then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

At a media briefing in Washington, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson called the new database a public service.

“In my mind when you look at this material, 1.7 million public documents, they are not easily available.  It is extremely hard to approach them even though they have been declassified.  So making them available to people is basically taking the secrecy away and uncovering the stories," she said.

Although the documents have long been in the public domain, their release in a searchable archive has generated some headlines internationally because their publication was coordinated with a number of media outlets.

For example, India’s Hindu newspaper cited the cables in a report about Rajiv Gandhi, whose family still dominates the country’s ruling party, as a middleman for an arms deal in the 1970s.

Gandhi was assassinated in 1991and his wife Sonia is now head of the ruling Congress party.  

U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell declined comment on the archive. “Our understanding is that there are some very old documents here.  We are still looking to see what all of this may be…I cannot comment on neither their authenticity nor their status of classification," he said.

The new WikiLeaks database contains 250,000 classified cables leaked by the website in 2010.

Those documents infuriated the international community as they provided blunt and unflattering U.S. views of world leaders.

Assange has been seeking refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London in an effort to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault, accusations Assange has denied.

U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning admitted to giving WikiLeaks the first set of cables.  His court martial is set to begin in June. 

You May Like

Taiwan President Sounds Warning on Future of China Ties

Current Taiwan government has eased once dangerously tough relations with Beijing since 2008, but next year’s presidential election could change that course More

US Presidential Candidates Woo Hispanic Voters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton reached out to Hispanic voters this past week in a bid to boost their voter support More

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Documentary is a close-up and personal view of young woman who has become of global symbol of courage and inspiration More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs