updated 11/30/2010 10:24:45 AM ET 2010-11-30T15:24:45

The WikiLeaks website says it's under a forceful Internet-based attack, and the site is inaccessible to users in U.S. and Europe.

The site, which just distributed a trove of U.S. diplomatic documents, said in a Twitter message on Tuesday morning that it's under a "distributed denial of service attack," a method commonly used by hackers to slow down or bring down sites.

The site was under attack Sunday, but Tuesday's attack appears to be more powerful. WikiLeaks said the malicious traffic was coming in at 10 gigabits per second, which would make it a relatively large effort.

The WikiLeaks site is hosted in Sweden and devoted to releasing anonymously submitted documents.

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Video: On the run, WikiLeaks' Assange speaks out

  1. Closed captioning of: On the run, WikiLeaks' Assange speaks out

    >>> there's more fallout tonight from the thousands of pages of leaked u.s. state secrets on the wikileaks website. the state department is now cut off one u.s. military computer network from its database of diplomatic cables. and defense secretary gates called the leaks embarrassing and awkward but ultimately, he predicted the impact would be fairly modest. tonight, the lightning rod behind wikileaks . aman named julian assange is hiding out be at the same time speaks out. our own lisa myers has more on that.

    >> reporter: julian assange is a man without a home who lives the life of the hunted. changing his appearance, using false names, and encrypted cell phones to avoid detection. he often works from what is described as bunkers and today from an undisclosed location, spoke via skype with rex, the managing editor of "time." he took aim at hillary clinton .

    >> she should resign. she was responsible for ordering u.s. diplomatic to engage espionage.

    >> as for assange.

    >> he lives a guerilla existence because of what he does and he moves around a great deal so he's not targeted.

    >> reporter: interpole issued an arrest warrant for assange with allegations of rape and molestation involving two women in sweden, claims he denies. the 39-year-old australian computer hacker recently told forbes magazine his next big document dump will expose a big u.s. bank . assange was quoted as saying he had documents from bank of america .

    >> he isn't the kind of hacker nerd you might expect him to be. in fact, he's a very forceful character, virging on arrogance.

    >> reporter: in four years, assange has made wikileaks a global force and for better or worse, exposed what he considers some of the world's darkest secrets. on everything from the wars in iraq and afghanistan, to corruption in kenya. what drives him?

    >> he sees the release of documents as a kind of transparency which actually bends the world towards justice. he sees himself as a revolutionary.

    >> however some of his tactics have cost him supporters especially his decision to publish the name of afghans helping the u.s. the u.s. government argues there's nothing noble about assange. a u.s. official describes him as very anti-american and deeply disturbed and dangerous individual. and tonight, even as he claims success, he still is on the run. lisa myers , nbc news, washington.


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