Wikileaks announced on Friday that it would be publicizing more than 500,000 Saudi state documents, many of which were classified and contained communications between the foreign ministry in Riyadh and their embassies around the world. The confidential material also included state memos discussing critical international affairs such as U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s release of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
In response to Friday’s announcement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement warning Saudi citizens not to share “documents that might be faked”. Earlier today, a Ministry spokesman encouraged people not to “allow enemies of the state to achieve their intentions”, and reiterated that “many of (the documents) had been fabricated in a very obvious matter”.
While the Saudi government denies that the leaked documents are authentic, they also officially announced yesterday that their ministry servers had been previously hacked. A group which calls themselves the “Yemen Cyber Army” is taking credit for the security breach, which took place late last month.
So far, news sources have confirmed some of the materials validity – AP, for example, has verified a small number of what has been released to date by calling phone numbers listed on the documents.
“Yemen Cyber Army’s” targeting of the Saudi foreign ministry is not surprising given the Kingdom’s coalition-led airstrike campaign and naval blockade against Houthi forces in the war-torn country. Operation “Decisive Storm” is the effort of nine Arab nations with logistical help from the U.S., to support the official government of President Mansur Hadi – now taking refuge in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
On March 22, the Houthi’s (a militant Zaidi Islamic group) began an attack on the Taiz Governorate, and quickly moved south to the seaport city of Aden, the new seat of Hadi’s government after Yemen’s capital of Sanaa was seized by the rebel group in September 2014. Three days later Hadi fled, reclaimed his legitimacy as Yemen’s president, and the airstrike campaign began.
While operation “Decisive Storm” officially ended on April 21, its replacement campaign entitled “Restoring Hope” (a more politically focused strategy to restore Hadi’s presidency), has continued selective airstrikes to counter Houthi control of key areas in Yemen.
WikiLeaks, which does not typically disclose it’s sources, would not confirm or deny whether “Cyber Army” leaked 60,000, of the 500,000, documents it has released on its website so far.[AP] [Al Jazeera]