WIKILEAKS has posted an "insurance" file on its website as US investigators close in on its suspected sources.
The freedom of information site, which enraged the Pentagon by publishing 77,000 leaked US documents on the Afghan war, uploaded
the giant encrypted file amid growing calls for the US Government to block its site.
The posting prompted speculation that WikiLeaks wanted to pre-empt any US Government action against it.
Cryptome, another whistle-blowing site, suggested that the new file may have been posted as insurance in case something happens to
the WikiLeaks website or its founder, Julian Assange.
WikiLeaks volunteers could then send out a password allowing access to anyone who had downloaded the file.
Meanwhile, US Army investigators have questioned friends in the Boston area of Bradley Manning, the soldier who was arrested in
May for allegedly providing WikiLeaks with a classified video of a US helicopter attack in Baghdad in which civilians were killed.
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Adrian Lamo, the Californian computer hacker who turned in Mr Manning to the authorities, said he told investigators that the
low-level intelligence analyst could not have acted alone. "I didn't believe he had the technological ... expertise to pull this
off by himself," Mr Lamo said.
Mr Manning reportedly visited friends in Boston during his home leave in January. The friends now under investigation include
computer experts affiliated with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston University.
A recent MIT graduate told the Boston Globe yesterday (Sunday) that he met Mr Manning while he was on leave and exchanged up to
ten e-mails with him, but denied any role in the leak.
The 23-year-old graduate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that he had been interviewed by agents from the US Army
Criminal Investigation Division. "I did not help him or know about it before it happened," he told the newspaper.
The WikiLeaks "insurance" file contains 1.4 GB of data - dwarfing all the 77,000 secret Pentagon files the site has already
It is not known what it contains, but Cryptome speculated that it may be the raw copies of leaked files or the 15,000 Afghan war
documents that the organisation has still not released. Another possibility, raised by Wired.com, is that the insurance file
contains a whole new cache of data leaked by Mr Manning.
Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, renewed his criticism of WikiLeaks yesterday (Sunday) in an appearance on This Week on ABC
television. "My attitude on this is that there are two areas of culpability. One is legal culpability. And that's up to the
Justice Department and others - that's not my arena," Mr Gates said. "But there's also a moral culpability. And that's where I
think the verdict is guilty on WikiLeaks. They have put this out without any regard for the consequences."