WikiLeaks vows to publish rest of its Afghan documents
The Pentagon said the release of secret papers would be more damaging than the first leak.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - 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.
The Pentagon has said that secret information would be even more damaging to security and risk more lives than WikiLeaks' initial release of about 76,000 war documents.
"This organization will not be threatened by the Pentagon or any other group," Julian Assange said in Stockholm. "We proceed cautiously and safely with this material."
In an interview, 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 that 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.
"It should be approximately two weeks before that process is complete," Assange said. "There will then be a journalistic review, so you're talking two weeks to a month."
WikiLeaks will work with media partners in releasing the remaining documents, he said, but he 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 groups 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.
"There are no easy choices for our organization," Assange said. "We have a duty to the people most directly affected by this material, the people of Afghanistan, and the course of this war which is killing hundreds every week. We have a duty to the broader historical record and its accuracy and its integrity. And we have a duty to our sources to try and protect them where we can."