Assange's arrest comes despite his apparent threat last Friday that if anything "happens" to him or WikiLeaks, key portions of the WikiLeaks cable archive (only a small percentage of which has been published) would go public. In a Q&A with the public on the Guardian's website, Assange wrote that the cable archive "has been spread, along with significant material from the US and other countries to over 100,000 people in encrypted form. If anything happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically. Further, the Cable Gate archives is in the hands of multiple news organisations." The archive is known to already be in the hands of five news organizations around the world, including the Guardian and The New York Times.
The Associated Press reports that WikiLeaks called Assange's arrest an attack on the freedom of the press, but said that it would not affect the organization's ability to release more documents. "This will not change our operation," WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said.
Although Assange was arrested on charges unrelated to the release of the US diplomatic cables, his detention could increase the likelihood of US legal action against him. The New York Times reports that on Monday, US Attorney General Eric Holder said that he had "authorized just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable." Although Mr. Holder declined to be more specific, he did say that the US government was continuing “a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature” over the WikiLeaks cables' release.