8 Dec 2010

Rudd says US to blame for leaked cables, not Assange

10:17 pm on 8 December 2010

Australia's Foreign Minister says the United States, not WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, is responsible for the unauthorised release of secret diplomatic cables.

Kevin Rudd says those who originally leaked the American documents are legally liable and the leaks raise questions over the adequacy of US security over the cables.

The US and other governments argue the publication of the cables is irresponsible and could put their national security at risk.

The cables released by WikiLeaks make disparaging remarks about Mr Rudd when he was prime minister, describing him as having control-freak tendencies and an overly secretive and haphazard decision-making process, the ABC reports.

On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard defended Mr Rudd, saying he is doing a fine job as Foreign Minister.

Ms Gillard says she will not comment on the contents of the leaked cables, but has laughed off suggestions Mr Rudd's style might affect the relationship between Australia and the US.

"It would be foolish indeed to extrapolate from one cable a whole attitude. The alliance between Australia and America is strong. When I met with President Obama, I described our two countries as great mates. That's what we are, that's what we'll continue to be."

Mr Rudd says he couldn't care less about the cables.

Meanwhile, Mr Assange on Tuesday handed himself in to London police and was detained on a European arrest warrant.

The 39-year-old Australian denies allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden earlier this year and told the court he will fight attempts to extradite him.

WikiLeaks says the arrest will not stop plans to release more of the 250,000 documents it had obtained.

Mr Assange has been highly critical of the Australian government's stance on the release of the cables.