The White House on Sunday condemned the expected release Sunday night of hundreds of thousands of purportedly classified State Department correspondence by WikiLeaks as a "reckless and dangerous" action.
"These cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a one-page statement.
WikiLeaks is a controversial, nonprofit group that publishes submitted documents on the Web. The group already has leaked some of the documents to major news organizations, including the New York Times, which published summaries Sunday afternoon.
White House officials also described the missives — which they called "stolen" — as private diplomatic discussions with foreign governments and said they are incomplete and only part of the process in shaping foreign policy.
"By its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information," the White House said. "Such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.
"These documents also may include named individuals who in many cases live and work under oppressive regimes and who are trying to create more open and free societies. ... We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information."
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