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Pentagon hunts for WikiLeaks founder

US government allegedly wants to stop site publishing thousands of hugely embarrassing state diploma

Investigators at the US Department of Defense are searching for Julian Assange, the 38-year-old founder of WikiLeaks, the US website which publishes leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct.

The government apparently wants to stop Assange from publishing thousands of hugely embarrassing state diplomatic cables related to the Middle East, its governments and leaders. The US authorities fear such sensitive literature, if made public, could harm national security.

Last week, Bradley Manning, a US soldier, reportedly gave the website a confidential video of US troops killing civilians in Baghdad. He also claimed he had given WikiLeaks 260,000 pages of similar proof, which started the hunt for Assange by the US government agencies.

"Any signs of unacceptable behaviour by the Pentagon or its agents towards this press will be viewed dimly," Wikieaks said on a Twitter message about the possible crack down on Assange.

The Pentagon has declined to comment on the issue.