The veracity of most of nearly 70,000 purported secret diplomatic Saudi documents leaked by WikiLeaks has been established, a spokesman for the whistle-blower website says.
Kristinn Hrafnsson made the remarks on Monday after the Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement on its Twitter account, warning against sharing of possibly “faked” documents.
“It’s interesting that they suggest that they are fabricated documents … without mentioning a single one. On the other hand of course journalists have already established the authenticity of many of the documents they have been working on…,” Hrafnsson said in an interview with RT.
The website has already released nearly 70,000 Saudi documents, including embassy communications and reports from other state bodies, on its webpage, most of them in Arabic.
WikiLeaks said it would publish over 500,000 Saudi diplomatic documents, including “top secret” reports from the kingdom’s intelligence agency and Ministry of Interior, on the Internet in the coming weeks.
“Let me remind you that this is just a beginning,” Hrafnsson said, adding that the documents are in Arabic “so it will take longer for media to work on the material and develop stories.”
Hrafnsson said the new documents indicate that Saudi Arabia has been trying to expand its influence in the Middle East region.
“We are seeing how the oil money is being used to increase [the] influence of Saudi Arabia which is substantial of course – this is ally of the US and the UK. And since this spring it has been waging war in neighboring Yemen,” he said.
In May, the Saudi government said its computer networks had been breached. Later on, a group calling itself the Yemeni Cyber Army claimed the hacking.
The Saudi kingdom is highly sensitive to public criticism. It has imprisoned many activists for criticizing the Al Saud dynasty while tightly controlling local media.
Saudi Arabia has been conducting airstrikes against Yemen since March 26 without any authorization from the United Nations.
UN Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville said on June 16 that at least 1,412 Yemeni civilians, including 210 women, had been killed and a further 3,423 injured since the start of the Saudi aggression.