Just as WikiLeaks began to release tens of thousands of new US diplomatic cables, the anti-secrecy organization announced on its Twitter feed that its WikiLeaks.org website was under cyberattack.
“WikiLeaks.org is presently under attack,” read a post on the WikiLeaks Twitter account, which is believed to be controlled by the organization’s founder, Julian Assange. The post also provided a link to an alternative website where users can search through the massive stock of already released cables.
A later tweet said the website was still under “cyber attack,” and said users should visit the Luxembourg version of WikiLeaks, wikileaks.lu.
The Obama administration has expressed frustration about WikiLeaks accelerated release of the cables, saying that the information contained in the documents has, once again, created setbacks for the US State Department and US national security.
“The United States strongly condemns any illegal disclosure of classified information,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in a statement to the press. “In addition to damaging our diplomatic efforts, it puts individuals’ security at risk, threatens our national security and undermines our effort to work with countries to solve shared problems. We remain concerned about these illegal disclosures and about concerns and risks to individuals.
“We continue to carefully monitor what becomes public and to take steps to mitigate the damage to national security and to assist those who may be harmed by these illegal disclosures to the extent that we can,” Nuland added.
With the apparent cyber attack still ongoing, the group responded to the US government’s reaction to the release: “Dear governments, if you don’t want your filth exposed, then stop acting like pigs. Simple,” tweeted WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks also said that the material in the cables “is unclassified and previously released by mainstream media.”
The new batch of cables currently being release by WikiLeaks comes from the original 250,000 cables revealed late last year. Until now, however, WikiLeaks has only released a small number of the cables, with a few more being made public sporadically.
Some news organizations have had access to WikiLeaks’ entire batch of files since the organization began releasing the cables. According to WikiLeaks insiders, who spoke with Reuters (one of the media outlets with access to all the cables), WikiLeaks activists had become disheartened in recent months due to the fact that the media no longer reports heavily on the information released by WikiLeaks. Instead, information in the cables has mostly served as evidence in larger stories about other topics.
The current massive dump of cables — 125,000 in the past week; 50,000 in one day alone — is intended to bring the spotlight back onto WikiLeaks and the new set of cables they are releasing, sources close to the matter said.
WikiLeaks also came under cyberattack last November, at the height of its cable releases.