State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley condemned Wikileaks for providing "a group like al-Qaida," with "a targeting list" of U.S. strategic assets around the world. A State Department list of vital facilities, which Crowley refused to name in detail, is at the center of the controversy over Wikileaks and its disclosure of secret American security documents.
In February 2009, U.S. missions abroad provided the State Department with a list of strategic facilities whose loss could damage American national security interests. The directory of locations is part of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan [NIPP], whose goal is the "preventing, deterring, neutralizing, or mitigating" of terrorism and other strikes on American strategic interests.
The list covers a broad range of sites, including communications centers, gas pipelines, and transportation hubs. It also extends to non-traditional facilities such as a cobalt mine in Congo and an anti-snake venom factory in Australia. Many other medical and industrial sites also make the catalog, such as an insulin plant in Denmark and the Ludwigshafen plant of German chemical giant BASF.
Many of the sites are located in remote and highly unprotected regions, opening up a new list of targets which the United States is hard-pressed to protect. For example, the document describes the Nadym gas junction in western Siberia as "the most critical gas facility in the world." As part of the Yamal-Europe pipeline, the gas line extends over 2,607 miles, much of it in remote areas of Siberia and Russia's arctic north.
Middle Eastern sites are also featured on the list. The document notes that Qatar will be the largest source of imported liquefied natural gas by 2012 and also references the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia. In 2006, Al-Qaida mounted an unsuccessful attack on Abqaiq, largest crude oil processing and stabilization plant in the world.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton summed up the concerns about the Wikileaks releases. "So let's be clear: this disclosure is not just an attack on America's foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity," she said. "It puts people's lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems."