WikiLeaks Says It’s Leaking Over 500,000 Saudi Documents
ISTANBUL — Jun 19, 2015, 6:52 PM ET
By RAPHAEL SATTER and MAGGIE MICHAEL Associated Press
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hold placards during a vigil across the street from the Ecuador embassy in London, Friday, June 19, 2015. Julian Assange is marking the third anniversary of his stay inside Ecuador’s London embassy. The… View Full Caption The Associated Press
WikiLeaks is in the process of publishing more than 500,000 Saudi diplomatic documents to the Internet, the transparency website said Friday, a move that echoes its famous release of U.S. State Department cables in 2010.
WikiLeaks said in a statement that it has already posted roughly 60,000 files. Most of them appear to be in Arabic.
There was no immediate way to verify the authenticity of the documents, although WikiLeaks has a long track record of hosting large-scale leaks of government material. Many of the documents carried green letterhead marked “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” or “Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” Some were marked “urgent” or “classified.” At least one appeared to be from the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
If genuine, the documents would offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the notoriously opaque kingdom. They might also shed light on Riyadh’s longstanding regional rivalry with Iran, its support for Syrian rebels and Egypt’s military-backed government, and its opposition to an emerging international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.
One of the documents, dated to 2012, appears to highlight Saudi Arabia’s well-known skepticism about the Iranian nuclear talks. A message from the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran to the Foreign Ministry in Riyadh describes “flirting American messages” being carried to Iran via an unnamed Turkish mediator.
Another 2012 missive, this time sent from the Saudi Embassy in Abu Dhabi, said the United Arab Emirates was putting “heavy pressure” on the Egyptian government not to try former president Hosni Mubarak, who had been overthrown in a popular uprising the year before.
Some of the concerns appear specific to Saudi Arabia.
In an Aug. 14, 2008 message marked “classified and very urgent,” the Foreign Ministry wrote to the Saudi Embassy in Washington to warn that dozens of students from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries had visited the Israeli Embassy in the U.S. capital as part of an international leadership program.