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updated 3/30/2011 9:19:12 AM ET 2011-03-30T13:19:12

UPDATED at 5:00 p.m. EST

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks became the target of a cyberattack shortly before leaking the first batch of more than a quarter-million confidential U.S embassy cables on Nov. 28, and continues to be targeted by hackers.

A post early Sunday (Nov. 28) on the WikiLeaks Twitter page read, "We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack." The Twitter update came just hours before the announcement, also on Twitter, that the cables had been leaked on the site http://cablegate.wikileaks.org, and would be made available to The New York Times, France’s Le Monde, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Pais and Britain’s Guardian.

The denial-of-service attack – when remote computers overwhelm a site with data, making it unavailable to visitors -- caused the WikLeaks site to experience "intermittent downtime," according to the social media news blog Mashable.com

The leaked cables, according to WikiLeaks, "show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in 'client states'; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for U.S. corporations; and the measures U.S. diplomats take to advance those who have access to them."

The New York Times began publishing them on Monday (Nov. 29) after excluding information that it said would endanger confidential informants or compromise national security. The newspaper also said it agreed to some additional redactions requested by the Obama administration.

WikiLeaks, an organization dedicating to revealing secret government and military documents, became the center of worldwide controversy when, on July 25, it leaked more than 90,000 confidential reports regarding the war in Afghanistan.

The WikiLeaks website was hit by another denial-of-service attack on Nov. 30, preventing it from being viewed by anyone in the U.S. or Europe. According to a Yahoo report, a computer hacker calling himself the "Jester" has taken credit for disabling the site. On Dec. 1, the WikiLeaks site went down for several hours.

UPDATE: On Dec. 1, the Associated Press reported that Amazon, one of the cloud-based services that WikiLeaks uses as a server, stopped hosting WikiLeaks.

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