Yesterday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced in London that he is preparing to release the remaining 15,000 classified documents he possesses, in defiance of the Pentagon’s demands that he return and delete all copies of the classified materials he illegally possesses. Asked point blank if he plans to publish the remaining documents, Assange replied: “Absolutely.”
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell responded by declaring such a decision by WikiLeaks would be the “height of irresponsibility.” Earlier in the day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said U.S. intelligence had confirmed that both al Qaeda and the Taliban leaders had given orders to comb through the documents for the identities of Afghans who had helped the United States. Assange dismissed these concerns, declaring, “We are not obligated to protect other people’s sources,” and said that the Afghan people “should know about” who among them has engaged in “genuinely traitorous” acts (translation: helping the United States).
With his appearance yesterday, Assange has thrown down the gauntlet. The Obama administration had warned that if WikiLeaks did not comply, the United States would “make them do the right thing.” Now Assange has told the administration what it can do with its threats. He has given them fair warning that he will not comply with their demands and fully intends to follow through and release the remainder of the classified documents he possesses. What is President Obama going to do about it?
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