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If imprisoned or killed, Assange reportedly prepared to out CIA-linked Arab leaders

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Middle Eastern leaders who’ve become friendly with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could face severe retribution from their local populations if WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is killed or jailed for a lengthy amount of time.

That’s because, in a recent interview with Arabic news network Al Jazeera, Assange allegedly warned that he had a document which reveals the identities of officials who voluntarily cultivated relationships with the CIA.

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“These officials are spies for the US in their countries,” he reportedly told the network.

“If I am killed or detained for a long time, there are 2,000 websites ready to publish the remaining files,” Assange was quoted as having said. “We have protected these websites through very safe passwords.”

He reportedly added that the files also reveal the locations of facilities where US prisoners are sent to be interrogated and tortured.

“If I am forced we could go to the extreme and expose each and every file that we have access to,” he allegedly said.

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The remarks were first carried outside of Al Jazeera by Qatar newspaper The Peninsula, then picked up stateside by progressive blog FireDogLake, triggering a CBS News report on the comments.

Assange allegedly showed the interviewer the file he was speaking of, but no names were stated publicly. The interview reportedly aired last night.

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Video of the conversation — part two of an earlier talk with Al Jazeera interviewer Ahmed Mansour — was not available online Thursday morning and The Peninsula appeared to be the source offering most detail about the conversation.

A request for comment or confirmation, sent to Al Jazeera’s press office in Qatar, went unanswered at time of publication.

It’s not the first time Assange has threatened to release a potentially devastating cache of information onto the Internet.

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“Due to recent attacks on our infrastructure, we’ve decided to make sure everyone can reach our content. As part of this process we’re releasing archived copy of all files we ever released,” WikiLeaks said in a message posted to its website earlier this month.

WikiLeaks took the precaution of posting a 1.4-gigabyte file on peer-to-peer networks, encrypted with a 256-digit key said to be unbreakable. Titled “insurance.aes256,” the file was big enough to contain all the US cables said to be in WikiLeaks’s possession, but there’s no word on what it may actually contain.

The encryption makes it unreadable until passwords are supplied — at which time all its contents, or just portions depending on which password is used, would become available to those who downloaded it.

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“It’s a ticking time bomb with a remote fuse,” one expert told NBC News. “So this bomb can go off the second that they release the key and the key will spread around the internet in a matter of seconds.”

Appearing on the BBC in early December, Assange’s lawyer defended the move.

“They need to protect themselves,” Mark Stephens said. “This is what they believe to be a thermo-nuclear device effectively in the electronic age.”

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With prior reporting by David Edwards.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Given the opportunity to discuss two profiles on White House adviser Stephen Miller -- published by the Washington Post and the New York Times late Saturday -- Democratic consultant Don Calloway jumped in with both feet to trash the man he called a "mental midget"."

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