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Criminal investigation on against WikiLeaks, says US

November 30, 2010 03:52 IST

US Attorney General Eric Holder said a criminal investigation in underway against WikiLeaks and any individual involved in breaking US law, be it an American or foreigner, will be held accountable.

As the US now makes efforts to deal with the consequences of the leak of 250,000 secret diplomatic documents, the attorney general said if gaps are found in American laws, they will be closed to deal with such incidences.

"I condemn the action that WikiLeaks has taken. It puts at risk our national security. But in a more concrete way, it puts at risk individuals who are serving this country in a variety of capacities, either as diplomats, as intelligence assets. It puts at risk the relationships that we have with important allies around the world," Holder told reporters at a news briefing.

"We have an active, ongoing criminal investigation with regard to this matter. We are not in a position as yet to announce the result of that investigation, but the investigation is ongoing," said Holder, in the first reaction coming from a top Obama Administration official.

"To the extent that we can find anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law and who has put at risk the assets and the people that I have described, they will be held responsible. They will be held accountable," Holder said when asked if action could be taken against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief.

"To the extent there are gaps in our laws, we will move to close those gaps, which is not to say that anybody at this point, because of their citizenship or their residence, is not a target or a subject of an investigation that's ongoing," he asserted.

He said that there is an active, ongoing criminal investigation being conducted with the Department of Defense in the unauthorised leak of over 250,000 secret documents released by the whistleblower website. "And I think one can compare the way in which various news organisations that have been involved in this have acted, as opposed to the way in which WikiLeaks has. And I'll let other people decide whether it should be or not," he said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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