WikiLeaks' Latest: 1.7M US Records From 1970s
Julian Assange worked on project from embassy refuge
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2013 6:47 AM CDT
This Aug. 19, 2012 file photo shows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange making a statement to the media and supporters at a window of Ecuadorian Embassy in central London.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)

(Newser) – Julian Assange hasn't been spending all his time inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London plotting his political career, chilling with Lady Gaga, and costing his celebrity backers money: He's also been at work on what WikiLeaks says is the biggest searchable collection of US diplomatic records in the world. The majority of the more than 1.7 million documents are diplomatic cables dating from 1973 to 1976; 320,000 of the documents were originally classified records. WikiLeaks is calling the collection the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), the BBC reports. (Less formal name: "The Kissinger Cables," since more than 205,000 of the records have to do with Henry Kissinger, Mashable notes.)

But WikiLeaks didn't actually leak the documents, which were already viewable at the US national archives; it just decided to offer them in a searchable format. The documents include, among other things, allegations that former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi worked as a middleman in a failed arms deal between a Swedish fighter jet maker and India. Also of interest: A diplomat's "first impressions" of new Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher, who died this morning of a stroke. Thatcher is "crisp and a trifle patronizing" with the media, the diplomat wrote, and "has a quick, if not profound, mind."