Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks today published more than 1.7 million United States records, covering diplomatic or intelligence reports on every country in the world.
Much of the work was carried out by founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He sought refuge there last June over fears he would be sent to the US if he was extradited to Sweden to face sexual offence claims by two women.
The Ecuadorian government has granted Mr Assange political asylum and has repeatedly offered Swedish prosecutors the chance to interview the Australian at the embassy.
The data released today comprises records from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976, covering a variety of diplomatic traffic, including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.
WikiLeaks has called the collection the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), describing it as the world’s largest searchable collection of US confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.
Mr Assange said yesterday the information showed the “vast range and scope” of US diplomatic and intelligence activity around the world.
Henry Kissinger was the US secretary of state during the period covered, and many of the reports were written by him, or were sent to him.
Thousands of the documents are marked NODIS (no distribution) or Eyes Only, as well as cables originally classed as secret or confidential.
Mr Assange said WikiLeaks had undertaken a detailed analysis of the communications.