The Pentagon expects Wikileaks to expose a huge cache of classified diplomatic communications by as soon as Friday, it has warned politicians.
An official told the Senate and House Armed Services Committees the whistleblowing site is working with its regular press partners, The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel on the release, Bloomberg reports.
"State Department cables by their nature contain everyday analysis and candid assessments that any government engages in as part of effective foreign relations," wrote Elizabeth King, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, yesterday.
"The publication of this classified information by WikiLeaks is an irresponsible attempt to wreak havoc and destabilize global security. It potentially jeopardizes lives."
The warning follows statements by Wikileaks via Twitter on Monday that its next release will be seven times the size of the Iraq war logs and that it had been under "intense pressure over it for months".
"The coming months will see a new world, where global history is redefined," it claimed, alongside an appeal for donations.
Earlier this year, Private Bradley Manning, the US Army intelligence specialist accused of giving the Iraq and Afghanistan logs to Wikileaks, is also charged with obtaining "more than 150,000 diplomatic cables", and with giving at least 50 to an unauthorised third party.
"Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public," he said via instant messenger to Adrian Lamo, a former hacker who reported him to authorities.
The documents have the potential to be much more embarrassing to the US than the Iraq and Afghanistan releases, which although classified mostly comprised mundane frontline minutiae. The diplomatic cable system that would have been accessible by Manning is not the most sensitive, but is used by embassies to report on foreign governments and businesses.
"We anticipate that the release could negatively impact US foreign relations," King told Congress.
In typically equivocal style, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said in July that if the site did have thousands of diplomatic cables "we would have released them".
The site today responded to reports of the Pentagon's warning to Congress via its Twitter account.
"The Pentagon is hyperventilating again over fears of being held to account," it said. ®