msnbc.com
updated 12/1/2010 1:28:47 PM ET 2010-12-01T18:28:47

The founder of WikiLeaks, the organization that has published tens of thousands of confidential American diplomatic cables, says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should resign if she ordered diplomats to spy.

"She should resign if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up," Julian Assange told Time Magazine in an interview.

  1. Related content
    1. DDoS attack on WikiLeaks gathers strength
    2. Assange's lawyer blasts his 'persecution'
    3. Newsweek: End of U.S. 'democracy agenda'
    4. State Department's best sources burned
    5. WikiLeaks: A tool for terrorists and criminals?
    6. NYT: Memos show wary nuclear dance with Pakistan
    7. U.S. cable: Karzai intervened for drug traffickers
    8. The who, what and why of WikiLeaks
    9. More stories, videos about the documents

Confidential diplomatic cables released by the whistleblowing website over the last few days indicated that American diplomats have been asked to gather information that is typically the work of spies.

According to one of the documents, Clinton asked for U.N. personnel's telephones, emails, credit card details and frequent flier numbers.

"Biographic and biometric information on U.N. Security Council permanent representatives," China, Russia, France and Britain were also called for, according to the documents.

Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under President George W. Bush, reportedly made similar requests.

'Ridiculous and absurd'
The White House called Assange's statements on Clinton "ridiculous and absurd," according to CNN.

"I'm not entirely sure why we care about the opinion of one guy with one website,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. "Our foreign policy and the interests of this country are far stronger than his one website."

Meanwhile, Clinton said Wednesday that the document leak would not hurt American diplomacy.

    1. Castaway's parents thought they would never see him again

      The father of Pacific castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga said he was told his long-lost son vanished on a fishing trip but he didn’t have the heart to break the news to his ailing wife.

    2. Scotland legalizes same-sex marriage
    3. Weapons deal strengthened Assad: US intel chief
    4. Outcry over the fate of Sochi's stray dogs
    5. Olympic construction leaves Sochi residents in the cold

Speaking at a security summit in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, Clinton said she had discussed the revelations published on the website with her colleagues at the meeting. The event is the first major international gathering of leaders and top diplomats since the memos began appearing on the website and in international publications this week.

"I have certainly raised the issue of the leaks in order to assure our colleagues that it will not in any way interfere with American diplomacy or our commitment to continuing important work that is ongoing," Clinton said. "I have not had any concerns expressed about whether any nation will not continue to work with and discuss matters of importance to us both going forward."

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints

Video: Assange makes Interpol's most wanted list

  1. Closed captioning of: Assange makes Interpol's most wanted list

    >> mentioned, wikileaks now spreads across the globe, and the man behind this whistleblower website, an australian named julian assange, is nowhere to be found. the international police agency interpol has issued a red alert for asange. they want to talk to him about some serious allegations. a lot of people, as you might imagine, would like to talk to him about now. our report from our senior investigative correspondent lisa myers .

    >> reporter: interpol 's decision to put him on the most wanted list reverbuated around the world. [ speaking foreign languages ]

    >> reporter: the so-called red notice says he's wanted for sex crimes in sweden . prosecutors there want to question him about allegations of rape and sexual molestation by two women. wikileaks volunteers. allegations asange denies and calls dirty tricks . essentially, interpol is asking countries to be on the lookout for asange.

    >> interpol is sending a message that they should take whatever steps are practical to find him and arrest him.

    >> reporter: a british newspaper, which published the latest batch of secret documents , reported that asange was in a secret location somewhere outside london. today, his lawyer denied he's on the run and said law enforcement officials know where to find him. he called the allegations not of prosecution, but a persecution.

    >> we're in a rather surreal swedish fairy tale where nothing haste happened like this before in sweden or else in civilized europe.

    >> reporter: peter alexander is in stockholm tonight.

    >> at least for now, the prosecutor is not commenting on any of the allegations made by asange's lawyer.

    >> reporter: the allegations came after wikileaks made public thousands of secret documents about the war in afghanistan . was the timing a coincidence? or is this, as asange claims, all political to punish him?

    >> my own experience with dealing with the prosecutors in sweden and others involved in the case, including the two women who complained and friends of asange, left me skeptical this was a political issue.

    >> reporter: tonight, asange has more reason to look over his shoulder.

Photos: Wikileaks

loading photos...
  1. (Mike Keefe / The Denver Post, Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. (Olle Johansson / Sweden, Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. (John Darkow / The Columbia Daily Tribune, Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. (Jimmy Margulies / The New Jersey Record, Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. (Joep Bertrams / Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. (J.D. Crowe / The Mobile Register, Politicalcalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. (Olle Johansson / Sweden, Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Interactive: WikiLeaks timeline

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments