WikiLeaks Publishes 90,000 Stolen Classified Documents
The scumbags at WikiLeaks have published a huge trove of classified documents provided to them by one or more traitors in our military. Nick Davies and David Liegh for The Guardian:
A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.
The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers’ website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.
Their publication comes amid mounting concern that Barack Obama’s “surge” strategy is failing and as coalition troops hunt for two US naval personnel captured by the Taliban south of Kabul on Friday.
The war logs also detail:
• How a secret “black” unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for “kill or capture” without trial.
• How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.
• How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.
• How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.
In a statement, the White House said the chaotic picture painted by the logs was the result of “under-resourcing” under Obama’s predecessor, saying: “It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009.”
The White House also criticised the publication of the files by Wikileaks: “We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact the US government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans, our partners, and local populations who co-operate with us.”
Perhaps alone of all countries in the world, the United States operates on the principle that freedom of the press is so sacrosanct that there’s literally nothing that can’t be printed. There is legal recourse after the fact for libel, but the bar is high. In the case of classified documents, the only ones who can be punished are those obligated to keep them secret — i.e. government personnel who have been read into the program and obtain the information through official channels. And, since journalists — and we define that term very broadly, indeed — don’t have to reveal their sources, it’s nearly impossible to catch the leakers. And the damage is regardless long done by that point.
I haven’t seen any of the material, aside from a scan of the above-quoted Guardian piece and Spencer Ackerman‘s piece for Danger Room. None of the highlights I’ve seen thus far surprise me any and, as Spencer suggests, even the “bombshell” that Pakistan’s ISI is regarded as an enemy even while their government is being treated as an ally is an “open secret.”
So, I don’t know that any serious damage has been done here. Have sources and methods been compromised? Have Coalition soldiers or Afghan civilians who have put their lives in our hands been put in additional danger? I have no way of knowing.
But, while I’ve long argued that we overclassify and need to revamp our system so that more information is available to the public, sooner, I don’t think the solution to the problem is for low level operators to violate their sacred trust.