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250,000 secret US documents released by WikiLeaks

world Updated: Nov 29, 2010 16:49 IST
Yashwant Raj

Saudi King wanted the US to attack Iran to prevent it from going nuclear and the US wanted to remove weapon grade fuel from Pakistani nuclear reactor are among the revelations in the state department documents leaked on Sunday by whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

Some 250,000 classified US documents procured by WikiLeaks detail a wide variety of secret diplomatic episodes and incidences of backroom bargaining like a standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel and the hacking of Google systems by the Chinese government, the New York Times reported.

"A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats," The Times said in its lead story.

US State Department documents released by the website provided candid views of foreign leaders and sensitive information on terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

The documents show Saudi donors remain chief financiers of militant groups like al Qaeda and that Chinese government operatives have waged a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage targeting the United States and its allies, according to a review of the WikiLeaks documents published in the Times.

The WikiLeaks documents also show US Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes any military strike on Iran would only delay its pursuit of a nuclear weapon by one to three years, the Times reported on its website on Sunday.

These documents, according to NYT, reveal a dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel.

Since 2007, the US has mounted a highly secret effort, so far unsuccessful, to remove from a Pakistani research reactor highly enriched uranium that American officials fear could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device.

In May 2009, Ambassador Anne W Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts because, as a Pakistani official said, "if the local media got word of the fuel removal, they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan's nuclear weapons, he argued".

Besides, they also provide an insight into a global computer hacking effort initiated by the Chinese government.

China's Politburo directed the intrusion into Google's computer systems, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, according to one cable.

The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government.

They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, the cables said.

The White House immediately condemned the release strongly, saying it risked the lives of thousands of diplomats and officials and endangered its relationship with friends and allies.

"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 US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world," said a statement issued by the White House. Hacker attack | Seoul wants to placate China through business ties | Chinese source apprised US of hacking

(With inputs from agency.)