WikiLeaks documents 'endanger countless lives'

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The US government said today it warned online whistleblower WikiLeaks that its expected imminent release of secret documents would put "countless" lives at risk, threaten anti-terror operations and jeopardise American relations with its allies.

In a letter sent to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange yesterday, the State Department's top lawyer said publication of the documents could do massive harm to America's standing by exposing secret military operations and revealing dissidents' claims against foreign governments.

The cables are expected to be released today.

State Department legal adviser Harold Koh sent the message in response to a letter from Mr Assange and his lawyer in which they asked about the safety of people who might be named in the cables.

Mr Koh says the US would not co-operate or negotiate with WikiLeaks.