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Amazon says WikiLeaks violated its terms of service

By the CNN Wire Staff
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WikiLeaks battles to stay online
  • Senator says Amazon booted WikiLeaks after his staff called
  • Amazon says WikiLeaks just wasn't following the rules
  • Amazon says it successfully defended against distributed denial-of-service attack

(CNN) -- Amazon Web Services denied Thursday that a government inquiry -- or even a massive denial-of-service attack -- prompted it to kick WikiLeaks off its servers.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, took credit Wednesday for WikiLeaks' ouster from server space it rented from the hosting service owned by U.S.-based internet retailer

Lieberman said that Amazon Web Services ended its relationship with WikiLeaks after his aides contacted the company.

"WikiLeaks' illegal, outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world," Lieberman said in a statement. "No responsible company -- whether American or foreign -- should assist WikiLeaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials."

But Amazon Web Services said that just wasn't true.

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"AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed," the company said in a Web posting. "WikiLeaks was not following them."

Specifically, WikiLeaks violated terms of service that require that a user own the rights to the content they're posting and that the content not harm anyone, Amazon Web Services said.

"It's clear that WikiLeaks doesn't own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content," the posting said. "Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren't putting innocent people in jeopardy."

Amazon Web Services said that the WikiLeaks site came under "large scale" distributed denial-of-service attacks, "but they were successfully defended against."

WikiLeaks began releasing a cache of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world on Sunday. It reported its servers came under a distributed denial-of-service attack the same day.

The embassy papers mark WikiLeaks' third major disclosure of American secrets this year. It already has released U.S. military video of a 2007 helicopter strike in Iraq that killed two Reuters journalists, and dumped tens of thousands of field reports from the war in Afghanistan along with a similar cache of documents from the Iraq war.