Wikileaks Leak? Norwegian Paper Claims Access to Entire Cache of Cables

Norwegian paper could publish secret documents independent of Julian Assange.

Dec. 22, 2010— -- Wikileaks appears to be leaking.

Norway's main business newspaper reported Wednesday that the Aftenposten news service has obtained unfettered and unauthorized access to the entire cache of secret government documents held exclusively by Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

If true, Aftenposten would be the only international news organization to have direct possession of the entire trove of U.S. diplomatic cables and military records believed to have been originally leaked by U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning.

The paper does not reveal who leaked the documents from inside Wikileaks' operations.

"I have no comments on how we have secured access to the documents. We never give our sources, even in this case," Aftenposten news editor Ole Erik Almlid told the paper Dagens Naerings, according to a rough translation of his comments, which were in Norwegian.

Until now, Wikileaks has selectively released roughly 2,000 of the more than quarter million controversial documents, disseminating them to the general public through a handful of news organizations, including The New York Times, Guardian and Der Spiegel newspapers.

The leak from Wikileaks could undermine Assange's plan to use the release of the documents as leverage against foreign governments.

"We are free to do whatever we want with these documents," Almlid told Dagens Naerings. "We're free to publish the documents or not publish the documents. We can publish on the Internet or on paper. We are handling these documents just like all other journalistic material to which we have gained access."

More than a dozen Aftenposten reporters are now sifting through the documents, according to the Australian Herald Sun, which first reported on Aftenposten's acquisition.

United Nations Investigates Manning Detention

Meanwhile, Manning remains in U.S. military custody awaiting trial for allegedly downloading the secret files in his role as an intelligence analyst.

But his detention has become a focal point for debate.

Some civil rights groups are protesting treatment of Manning at a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., as inhumane and punitive -- saying the conditions amount to torture.

The United Nations said Wednesday it is investigating the complaints, according to The Associated Press.

Manning spends 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.

The Marines note that Manning has been treated no differently than other maximum custody detainees. And, contrary to critics' assertions, a Marine spokesman told ABC, Manning is allowed to converse with other detainees.

ABC News' Luis Martinez contributed to this report.