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Pentagon Assesses Leaked Documents

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2010 – The Pentagon today condemned the actions of the group WikiLeaks.org, which released thousands of classified U.S. military documents on its website last night.

“The leaking of classified information is something we take very seriously,” Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters today.

“We are in the process right now of assessing the documents,” Lapan added.

The documents, reportedly given to several U.S. and international media weeks ago, are said to detail field reports from Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan relationships with the Taliban. The more than 90,000 documents cover the period from January 2004 through December 2009, according to news reports.

The Pentagon has yet to confirm the impact of the reports, as it’s still early in the assessment process, Lapan said.

“As they are made available, we will be looking at them to try to determine potential damage to lives of our servicemembers and our coalition partners; whether they reveal sources in methods and any potential damage to national security,” he said. “Since this was just released last night, we’re still in the process going through that assessment.”

Of the reports the Pentagon has seen, they fall into a category of basic, unit-level reporting, Lapan said.

“We’ve only seen a fraction of the documents that are reported to be out there, so until we get a look at all of them, we can’t know exactly what the extent of the damage may be,” he said.

It could take the Pentagon weeks to make such determinations, Lapan said. But much of what the Pentagon has discovered early in the investigation is that the documents are classified at a “secret” level, and not “top-secret,” which is reserved for more sensitive material, he said.

The disclosed documents reveal “the type of reporting that goes on at the tactical level on a routine basis,” the colonel said, noting examples such as roadside bomb incidences, civilian and military casualty reports and intelligence and information gathering.

“There’s nothing we’ve seen so far that is particularly relevant,” Lapan added.

At this point, he said, the Pentagon is concentrating on the information that’s been made public, and is not investigating the source of the leak. Lapan explained that any number of military and civilian defense employees have access to such documents.

Also, the Pentagon is not looking to limit the number of people with access to “secret” material, he said.

“We have lots of systems in place,” Lapan said. “And at the very top of that is the responsibility that those who are entrusted with access to that type of information protect that from unauthorized disclosure.”

The Pentagon, however, will eventually attempt to narrow down the source of the leak, he said. However, Lapan could not disclose whether a formal investigation on the matter would take place.

“As we’ve said, we put a great deal of trust and confidence in individuals not to betray their oath to their country,” Lapan said.

 

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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

7/27/2010 2:09:20 AM
This story does not serve to inform the public that Coalition partners are making some progress given the constant danger ISAF is facing in Afghanistan. If the founder of Wikileaks.org, a former hacker, really wanted to inform then why not show both sides for the Coalition's past mistakes and success'? The young women of Afghanistan have schools today that they didn't have under the Taliban as a result of hard ISAF work. The long hours the instructors have been putting in to build a National Police and Army from the ground up. It will a change from the inside out, the Afghans all choosing person by person to take charge of their country then they will drive out the Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters out of their country to improve Afghanistan from a pre-9/11/01 to a stable sovereign nation. Lastly, I wonder what Wikileaks founder would think, to have his secrets, such as how he get ahold of this information, exposed to the world he loves to share with? Informing or privacy violations?
- Michael Villacres, Queens, NY

7/26/2010 5:42:23 PM
Dear friends, Pleas accept this email just as one support information and don't need to be published. I would like to inform you that files are available for download and they are in Exel files. If there is any way that we can support or help you in any other way from here related to the above mentioned topic: like collect them and send you back, pleas do not hesitate to contact me. I am ready to stay days and nights in your disposal. This I see as small contribute for you guy's as give back for everything you have done for Kosovo until now. God bless USA!
- Concerned Kosovar, Kosovo

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