Release of unredacted classified material
2 September 2011
It appears that a very significant number of US classified cables held by WikiLeaks have been distributed across the internet over the past 48 hours.
On occasions before this week, WikiLeaks redacted identifying features where the safety of individuals or national security could be put at risk.
It appears this hasn’t occurred with documents that have been distributed across the internet this week and this is extremely concerning.
I am advised that many of these documents contain identifying information. I am aware of at least one cable in which an ASIO officer is purported to have been identified, as reported in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age today.
ASIO and other Government agencies officers are working through the material to see the extent of the impact on Australian interests.
I will not provide a running commentary on WikiLeaks, however this disturbing development confirms the Government’s position regarding WikiLeaks and others disseminating classified material.
In the modern age of global electronic communications, this material may be available on a number of sites on the internet.
I am confident Australian media outlets will exercise caution in identifying individuals or reproducing information that could put their safety at risk.
This prudence was exercised in relation to stories published today in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspaper.
Section 92 of the ASIO Act makes it a crime to publish, or cause to be published, the identity of an ASIO Officer.
Media Contact: Ryan Liddell (02) 6277 7300 or 0427 225 763.