- Associated Press - Thursday, December 23, 2010

OSLO (AP) — A Norwegian newspaper on Thursday said it has obtained the entire trove of 250,000 uncensored U.S. diplomatic documents that WikiLeaks has been distributing.

The announcement Thursday appears to make Aftenposten the first media organization outside WikiLeaks‘ five partners to obtain the material — a development sure to heighten U.S. government fears that the public release of some uncensored diplomatic cables could endanger informants’ lives.

So far, WikiLeaks has released about 1,900 of the more than 250,000 State Department documents it claims to possess, many of them containing critical or embarrassing U.S. assessments of foreign nations and their leaders. The documents also are being published by the New York Times, France’s Le Monde, Britain’s the Guardian newspaper and the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Aftenposten Managing Editor Ole Erik Almlid said the newspaper has no restrictions on how to use the material and will be publishing articles about the U.S. documents that it finds relevant in its online and paper editions.

Aftenposten also will post parts of some of the original documents on its website, redacting sensitive information such as names if needed, Mr. Almlid told the Associated Press.

“We have received these documents … without restrictions and without paying anything for it,” Mr. Almlid said, declining to say exactly how the paper obtained the material. “We never reveal our sources.”

Earlier this year, WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of classified U.S. military documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has not been charged in connection with leaked documents but was jailed in England this month after two women in Sweden accused him of sex crimes, including rape. He was freed on bail last week and is confined to a supporter’s country estate in Britain while he fights extradition to Sweden, where authorities want to question him in the sex crimes inquiry.

It is not known who sent the U.S. documents to WikiLeaks.

A U.S. solider, Pfc. Bradley Manning, was charged in July with leaking classified material, including video posted by WikiLeaks of a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver. Pfc. Manning is now in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Manfred Nowak, the U.N.’s top anti-torture envoy, said Mr. Nowak was looking into a complaint that Pfc. Manning, who visitors say spends 23 hours a day alone in a cell, has been mistreated in custody. The Pentagon denies the claim.



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