The Obama administration is condemning the expected release of classified diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks website and warning that it will endanger lives and interests.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Friday that the administration is continuing the process of warning governments around the world about what may be in the documents. He said the U.S. and its allies are bracing for what may be coming.
The release of hundreds of thousands of State Department cables is expected this weekend, although WikiLeaks has not been specific about the timing. The cables are thought to include private, candid assessments of foreign leaders and governments and could erode trust in the U.S. as a diplomatic partner.
Early there were reports that the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had informed Israel's Foreign Ministry of the impending release.
The Americans said they wanted to let the Israeli government know so it would not be surprised and would be prepared for publicity that might cause diplomatic embarrassment.
A senior Israeli official, said that according to the Americans, the WikiLeaks material includes diplomatic cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world.
The cables date from the past five years and include media reports, talks with politicians, government officials and journalists, as well as evaluations and various analyses by American diplomats regarding their host countries.
According to the official, the U.S. Embassy said that the documents were not highly classified, but the administration did not know the precise content of the cables.
"The Americans said they view the leak very seriously. They don't know when they will be released on the internet and what exactly they say, but they didn't want us to read about it in the newspapers," the official said.