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Will WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, now arrested, take the 'nuclear' option?

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange has threatened to release 'key parts' of secret US documents if anything happened to him or WikiLeaks.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is shown as he speaks during a NGO conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Nov. 5.

Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone/AP/File

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Now that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested, will he unleash his "thermonuclear device?"

He appeared to hint at the option last week, when he threatened that “key parts” of secret US government cables would be released if anything happened to him or WikiLeaks.

The "thermonuclear device," so named by Mr. Assange's lawyer, is believed to refer to a mysterious 1.4 GB file labeled "insurance" that was uploaded onto the WikiLeaks website in late July, just after the website published 77,000 Afghan war documents.

The file, believed to include the more than 251,000 US State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks, is seen as an insurance policy for the embattled WikiLeaks in case of potential attacks on its founder or its website before the full trove is made available to the public.

“... this is, I think, what they believe to be a thermonuclear device effectively in the electronic age,” Mr. Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, said Sunday during an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.


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