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Terrorism & Security

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange arrested in London on rape charges

The arrest, on rape charges from Sweden, comes after Julian Assange warned that WikiLeaks could release key US cables if anything 'happened' to him.

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The Associated Press reports that WikiLeaks called Assange's arrest an attack on the freedom of the press, but said that it would not affect the organization's ability to release more documents. "This will not change our operation," WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said.

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Although Assange was arrested on charges unrelated to the release of the US diplomatic cables, his detention could increase the likelihood of US legal action against him. The New York Times reports that on Monday, US Attorney General Eric Holder said that he had "authorized just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable." Although Mr. Holder declined to be more specific, he did say that the US government was continuing “a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature” over the WikiLeaks cables' release.

The latest WikiLeaks revelations are of particular concern to the US government. The Guardian reported Tuesday that US cables revealed that NATO has developed plans to protect Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from potential Russian threats, though the "contingency" plans had been kept secret to avoid "unnecessary tensions" with Moscow. And on Sunday, WikiLeaks released a February 2009 cable that listed "critical infrastructure" around the globe that "if destroyed, disrupted or exploited, would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States." The Christian Science Monitor reports that some have called the list of sites a "menu for terrorists," though others note that the sites' importance is largely already public knowledge.

RELATED: Read the Monitor's full WikiLeaks coverage.


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