WikiLeaks has now published all 251,287 of the leaked US embassy cables on its website

WikiLeaks has made the full cache of 251,000 secret US embassy cables available through its website, despite the cables not having undergone any redaction to remove the names of sources and informants.

The group has been poised to do so since it emerged recently that the cables were available through filesharing network BitTorrent and that the password needed to unencrypt them had been published in a book by Guardian journalists in February.

WikiLeaks yesterday began an online poll on Twitter, asking users to vote on whether or not it should publish the full trove of unredacted cables. The group claimed on Twitter shortly after the poll began that votes were 100 to one in favour.

Then last night the decision to publish all the cables was signalled by a tweet that read: "Shining a light on 45 years of US 'diplomacy', it is time to open the archives forever".

Just 20,000 of the cables had been made public prior to last week, when WikiLeaks, aware that the existence of the cables file and password had become public, dramatically sped up publication, releasing
133,887 cables over the course of the week. Some of those cables, including those covering Australia, had not undergone any redaction.

The security breach is understood to be the result of a WikiLeaks supporter posting a large file on BitTorrent, unaware that a hidden subdirectory of the file contained the full unredacted US embassy cables.

The file was uploaded to the filesharing network the day WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange was arrested on an extradition warrant sought by Sweden, related to alleged sexual offences in the country.

Although reportedly a different file to the one the Guardian was given access to last year, as part of the newspaper's agreement with WikiLeaks, the encrypted file on BitTorrent was protected by the same password.

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has temporarily suspended its WikiLeaks mirror site, a copy of a website and its data hosted elsewhere, as a result of the decision to publish the cables.

Citing the possibility of informants being identified, the group said it "
has neither the technical, human or financial resources to check each cable" and so "has to play safe".

WikiLeaks blamed the Guardian for the security breach, alleging that the publication of the encryption password in
a book by investigations editor David Leigh and correspondent Luke Harding was at fault.

The Guardian called the accusations "utter nonsense", saying that its journalists were told the file would only be available online for a temporary period, after which the password would be obsolete.

A statement from the newspaper yesterday revealed that despite the strained relationship between Assange and the Guardian, including repeated threats of legal action by the whistleblowers' group, Assange met with Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger as recently as 8 August.

During the two-hour meeting, which was "amicable" according to the Guardian, the possibility of future partnerships was discussed.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).