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U.S. Urges WikiLeaks To Not Release Diplomatic Documents

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
The U.S. State Department has warned the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks that its expected release of classified U.S. documents will endanger "countless" lives, jeopardize U.S. counterterrorism operations, and hurt international cooperation on global security issues.

Washington has also rejected talks with WikiLeaks over its planned release of classified State Department cables.

The State Department set out its position in a letter to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his attorney that was released to the media.

State Department legal adviser Harold Koh wrote that if any of the materials "you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action."

Koh said the department has learned that WikiLeaks provided about 250,000 documents to "The New York Times," British daily "The Guardian," and the German magazine "Der Spiegel."

Some reports indicated the media outlets would post stories on the documents as early as today and said they have also been given to newspapers "Le Monde" in France and "El Pais" in Spain.

compiled from agency reports