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

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The encrypted file has since been downloaded by tens of thousands of supporters, according to The Sunday Times, though the 256-digit code believed to unlock it has not yet been released. The Times added that the cache was suspected to include unredacted documents on BP and the US-run Guantánamo Bay detention facility.

'Insurance policy'

Assange appeared to refer to the file on Dec. 3 during a Q&A with the public on the Guardian’s website, but characterized it only as including the State Department cables.

“The Cable Gate archive has been spread, along with significant material from the US and other countries to over 100,000 people in encrypted form," he said in the online forum. "If something happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically. Further, the Cable Gate archives is in the hands of multiple news organizations.”

"Cable Gate" is the title of WikiLeaks' largest leak yet, though fewer than 1,000 of the more than 251,000 cables have been released to the public since the leak began on Nov. 28.

The latest release of cables has brought increased pressure on Assange from the US and Swedish governments, culminating this morning with his arrest at a London police station on accusations of rape, unlawful coercion, and sexual molestation in Sweden.

Will WikiLeaks now release the key to open the insurance file? Not yet. The Associated Press reports that a WikiLeaks spokesman said the file will be "used only if 'grave matters' take place involving WikiLeaks staff."

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