The founder of WikiLeaks said Thursday the whistle-blower website is preparing to release another roughly 15,000 documents about the war in Afghanistan.
"We are about halfway through them," Julian Assange told reporters in London, England. "This is a very expensive process."
The Pentagon on Thursday warned WikiLeaks against releasing more documents. "It would compound a mistake that has already put far too many lives at risk," said Geoff Morrell, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.
"The only responsible course of action for them is to immediately remove all the stolen documents from their website and expunge all classified material from their computers," he said. "If they were to publish any additional documents after hearing our concerns about the harm it will cause our forces, our allies and innocent Afghan civilians, it would be the height of irresponsibility."
But Assange said he is "absolutely" committed to moving forward with the release. "A lot of the recent criticism about Afghanistan was totally expected," Assange said Thursday.
"Every time we take on one of these big organizations, they try and try to find various ways to criticize us, and there might even be some legitimate criticism in this case," he said. "But we did try hard to keep back some material."
The Defense Department has demanded WikiLeaks return all documents belonging to the Pentagon and delete any records of the documents, Morrell said last week.
"The only acceptable course is for WikiLeaks to take steps immediately to return all versions of all of these documents to the U.S. government and permanently delete them from its website, computers and records," Morrell said.
Assange has previously said his Web site has an additional 15,000 documents that it wants to publish but that it is redacting information that could endanger people named. (Continues here)