Sunday's release of thousands of classified U.S. State Department cables by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks was condemned by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday, with Holder promising to prosecute any individual who broke the law.
"To the extent that we can find anybody involved in breaking American law who has put at risk the assets and the people that I have described . . . they will be held responsible," Holder said at a press conference in Washington, ABC News reported.
"They will be held accountable."
Clinton called the release of some 250,000 pieces of correspondence "not just an attack on America's foreign policy interests (but) an attack on the international community." She said anyone who applauds the release of the documents is badly mistaken. "There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people . . . nothing brave about sabotaging peaceful relations between nations," Clinton said.
The New York Times
reported that Clinton questioned the motives of those behind the leaks, without naming WikiLeaks. Such disclosures "tear at the fabric" of the proper function of government, she said.
She also stressed that the viewpoints represented in any diplomatic communications were not necessarily those of the U.S. government. "Our official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but here in Washington," she said.
Iran has accused the United States of purposefully allowing the cables to become public. The leaked information reportedly shows that several countries are uneasy about Iran's nuclear program, and many are discussing how to contain it.
Earlier, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) urged
Clinton to investigate whether WikiLeaks could be designated a terrorist organization.
In Britain, diplomats were reportedly shocked to learn
that as many as 2.5 million U.S. government workers, many of them junior diplomats and soldiers, had access to classified information.