U.S. officials say the State Department is warning hundreds of foreign diplomatic sources identified in classified cables released by WikiLeaks of potential threats to their safety.
The New York Times newspaper says the department has moved a small number of the foreign government officials, business people and human rights activists to safer locations.
The Times cites Obama administration officials as saying they were not aware of anyone who had been attacked or imprisoned as a direct result of the leaked cables. But the officials said many dissidents are under constant harassment from their governments, and it is difficult to be certain of the cause.
U.S. officials and human rights groups criticized the WikiLeaks website last year for releasing thousands of Afghan war documents without removing the names of Afghan citizens who had helped the U.S. military. The group later decided to strip the names of “innocent parties” when publishing secret documents.
The Times quotes the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner, as saying the department feels responsible for doing everything possible to protect those named. The paper said Posner is overseeing the State Department’s review of the quarter million cables WikiLeaks obtained.