Guardian office

The Guardian has called accusations it is responsible for the leak of the unredacted US embassy cables 'utter nonsense'

Credit: Michael Bruntonspall on Flickr. Some rights reserved

The Guardian has called on WikiLeaks to abandon plans to make the entire cache of leaked US embassy cables available online without undertaking redactions, calling the idea "grossly irresponsible".

Following an unplanned leak of the diplomatic cables, the whistleblowing group has been conducting a poll on Twitter to determine whether or not it should make the full trove of unredacted cables available through its own website.

By 5pm today (Thursday), WikiLeaks had not announced whether it would publish the cables, but said that responses to its online poll were 100 to one in favour of doing so.

The group dramatically sped up its publication of the cables last week after discovering that encrypted files containing all 2510,000 cables were available online through the filesharing network BitTorrent, and the password had been published. More than 120,000 cables were released by the site last week, compared with just 20,000 over the previous nine months.

In a statement published this morning, WikiLeaks blamed the Guardian for the files being made available after the newspaper's senior investigations editor David Leigh published the password in February in his book, WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy.

The Guardian called the accusations "nonsense", claiming that its journalists were told the file would only be available online for a temporary period.

The newspaper has issued a further statement today calling on WikiLeaks to abandon any plans to make the cables available on its own site.

The Guardian statement also revealed that, despite a well-publicised breakdown in relations between WikiLeaks and the Guardian which began before the first publications of the cables last year and saw WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange threaten to sue the newspaper several times, Assange met with Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger early last month.

Assange and Rusbridger reportedly held an "amicable" two hour-long meeting, even discussing the possibility of working together on future projects.

According to the Guardian, at no point did Assange raise the issue of the password published in Leigh's book, despite WikiLeaks claiming earlier today that the group had regarded it as a serious problem since February.

Assange was then in contact with Rusbridger and the Guardian's deputy Ian Katz two further times during the week of 8 August, the newspaper's statement says.

The version of the file made available to the Guardian last year was only hosted temporarily online but two versions of it are understood to have been later uploaded to BitTorrent, meaning that those capable of finding the file could unencrypt it using the password published by Leigh in his book.

Responding to the accusation that it was responsible for the unredacted files being made available online, the Guardian said it "utterly rejects any suggestion that it is responsible for the release of the unedited cables", adding: "WikiLeaks should take responsibility for its own pattern of actions and not seek to deflect it elsewhere".

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