WASHINGTON — WikiLeaks website founder Julian Assange is in Britain and police know his whereabouts but have refrained from acting on a European warrant for his arrest, a British newspaper reported Thursday.
The 39-year-old Australian, who founded the whistle-blowing website disclosing a trove of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, supplied British police with contact details upon his arrival in October, The Independent said.
Sweden issued the warrant for Assange, who is wanted in connection with rape allegations.
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New pressure for Assange's arrest came as the White House and others continued to deal with the fallout from the latest WikiLeaks releases.
Assange's secret-spilling group is still in the process of disclosing hundreds of classified State Department cables that have revealed requests for U.S. diplomats to gather personal information on their foreign counterparts, highlighted Western concerns that Islamist militants might get access to Pakistan's nuclear material and American skepticism that Islamabad will sever ties to Taliban factions fighting in Afghanistan.
Assange, an Australian computer hacker, disappeared from public view after a Nov. 5 press conference in Geneva. He has spoken publicly only through online interviews.
Mark Stephens, a London-based lawyer for Assange, complained that Assange had yet to receive formal notice of the allegations and said that his client had repeatedly offered to answer questions about the investigation, to no avail.
Stephens condemned Sweden's director of public prosecution, Marianne Ny, who revealed the European arrest warrant. He said he'd never come across a prosecutor who has "such casual disregard" for her obligations.
Despite reports that Assange is in hiding, The Independent said that Scotland Yard has known his whereabouts for more than a month but has yet to receive official instructions to arrest him. Police sources told the U.K. newspaper that Assange gave authorities a telephone number when he arrived in Britain in October and are aware of where he is staying.
Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency received the "red notice" — an international arrest warrant — but has so far refused to authorize an arrest, The Independent said.
Scotland Yard told NBC News that Swedish authorities need to issue a European arrest warrant — which is executable in the U.K. — before Assange can be arrested. The Independent said British authorities were seeking clarifications of such a warrant.
The exact nature of the allegations facing Assange aren't clear, although Stephens has in the past described them as a part of "a post-facto dispute over consensual, but unprotected sex."
In other developments Wednesday:
Taking new steps to protect government secrets, The White House announced that National Security Adviser Tom Donilon has appointed a senior adviser to lead a comprehensive effort to identify and develop reforms needed in light of the document dump.
An independent board that advises President Barack Obama on intelligence matters also will examine how the executive branch shares and protects classified information.
The latest steps are in addition to actions taken by the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the State and Defense departments in response to the disclosures.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said that the lack of security on the database that contained the cables was a big problem. He hinted at a similar lack of security on other databases throughout the administration. Speaking to reporters after a closed administration briefing, he said he didn't feel as though there was an "urgency" to fix these cyber security problems.
WikiLeaks said Amazon.com kicked its website from its servers, forcing the site to move back to a Swedish provider.
Sen. Joe Leiberman, I-Conn., said the move by Amazon.com Inc. came after congressional staffers called the company to inquire about its relationship with WikiLeaks.
Amazon.com would not comment on its relationship with WikiLeaks.
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Cables suggest the United States harbors a dim view of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and little hope that Russia will become more democratic or reliable, The New York Times reported. The U.K. Guardian reported that the cables portray Russia as a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy in which officials, oligarchs and organized crime are bound together to create a "virtual mafia state."
In another secret conversation, Washington's top diplomat in Europe alleged in secret that Putin was likely to have known about the operation in London to murder Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, the U.K. Guardian reported.
Russia's foreign intelligence chief has ordered his spies to study leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.
"There are many issues which have been revealed by the disclosure by WikiLeaks — this is material for analysis," Mikhail Fradkov, the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS news agency.
"There is sufficient information for analysis and we shall report our conclusions to the leadership of the country," said Fradkov.
An October 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable reveals that the chief of Pakistan's spy agency said he had contacted Israeli officials to head off potential attacks on Israeli targets in India. Lt.-Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, told former U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson he had been to Oman and Iran "to follow up on reports which he received in Washington about a terrorist attack on India."
The conversation took place almost a year after the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba killed 166 people in a series of attacks in Mumbai. India has accused the ISI of being directly involved in the attacks, an allegation denied by Pakistan.Video: Assange makes Interpol's most wanted list (on this page)
Yemen's Foreign Ministry said WikiLeaks memos about content of talks between Yemeni and U.S. officials are inaccurate and incorrect. The ministry, in a statement Wednesday, said Yemen's stances are clear and do not carry double meanings and its dealing with its brothers and friends stem from its national and pan-Arab principles.
Documents published by WikiLeaks cited exchanges showing Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, telling top NATO commander Gen. David Petraeus that his country would pretend that American missile strikes against a local al-Qaida group had come from Yemen's forces.
Turkey's prime minister accused U.S. envoys of slander after leaked cables said he had accounts in Swiss banks, painted him as an authoritarian who hates Israel and leads a government with Islamist influences.
"The United States should call its diplomats to account," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told an audience in Ankara.
American diplomats in Ottawa fretted about the relentlessly negative image of the United States on television shows in Canada, according to secret cables. The cables — reported on by the National Post newspaper — also showed U.S. officials felt Canadians had "an almost inherent inferiority complex" with respect to their powerful neighbor and most important trading partner.
Msnbc.com staff, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.