WikiLeaks will publish its remaining 15,000 Afghan war documents within a month, despite warnings from the U.S. government, the organization’s founder said Saturday.
“It should be approximately two weeks before that process is complete,” Assange told AP. “There will then be a journalistic review, so you’re talking two weeks to a month.”
The Pentagon has said that secret information will be even more damaging to security and risk more lives than WikiLeaks’ initial release of some 76,000 war documents.
“This organization will not be threatened by the Pentagon or any other group,” Julian Assange told reporters in Stockholm. “We proceed cautiously and safely with this material.”
In an interview with The Associated Press, he said that if U.S. defense officials want to be seen as promoting democracy then they “must protect what the United States’ founders considered to be their central value, which is freedom of the press.”
“For the Pentagon to be making threatening demands for censorship of a press organization is a cause for concern, not just for the press but for the Pentagon itself,” the Australian added.
He said WikiLeaks was about halfway though a “line-by-line review” of the 15,000 documents and that “innocent parties who are under reasonable threat” would be redacted from the material.
Wikileaks would be working with media partners in releasing the remaining documents, he said, but declined to name them.
The first files in WikiLeaks’ “Afghan War Diary” laid bare classified military documents covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010. The release angered U.S. officials, energized critics of the NATO-led campaign, and drew the attention of the Taliban, which has promised to use the material to track down people it considers traitors.
That has aroused the concern of several human rights group operating in Afghanistan and the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which has accused WikiLeaks of recklessness. Jean-Francois Julliard, the group’s secretary-general, said Thursday that WikiLeaks showed “incredible irresponsibility” when posting the documents online.
WikiLeaks describes itself as a public service organization for whistleblowers, journalists and activists.