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The Independent Online

WikiLeaks members who leak information without their bosses' permission could be sued for £12m by the very organisation known for releasing sensitive information to the public, it has emerged.

A legal gag contained within a WikiLeaks confidentiality agreement states that the organisation can sue staff who have released information they were not supposed to for the sum, described as "a typical open market valuation [for the information]".

The revelations, published on David Allen Greene's New Statesman blog call into question the Julian Assange-founded organisation's approach to the information it obtains.

Documents previously unearthed showed that WikiLeaks claims commercial ownership of all documents given to it by its sources.

Mr Allen Green also noted in the post, published yesterday, that the confidentiality agreement "provides that – like a super-injunction – the fact of the legal gag itself is subject to the gag", meaning that staff bound by the agreement simply referring to its existence could potentially be liable for its stated penalty.

Furthermore, the document sets out WikiLeaks' belief that, in the event of any information being leaked in contravention of the agreement, it could sue both for "loss of opportunity to sell the information to other news broadcasters and publishers" and for "loss of value of the information".

Mr Assange (pictured) is still in Britain fighting extradition to Sweden for a sexual assault case. His lawyers argue Sweden would be a stop on the way to extradition to the US.

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