Australia to assess risk of troop due to U.S. defense documents leak

17:15, July 27, 2010      

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The Australian Defense Department on Tuesday formed a task force to assess whether a massive leak of U.S. military documents will have any impact on the safety of Australia's 1,550 troops in Afghanistan.

According to Australian Associated Press, at this stage it appears not, with Australia rating only fleeting and seemingly unexceptional references.

But the leak is vast, featuring some 92,201 assorted military, intelligence and diplomatic documents with many not yet made public.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she was concerned about the leaking of this secret material as it clearly contained references to Australian troops.

Defense Minister John Faulkner had advised that the Defense Department had established a task force to examine these documents and identify any material relating to the Australian Defense Force. It would assess what action, if any, needed to be taken.

"After the task force completes its examination ... Senator Faulkner has asked defense to provide a briefing both to the government, obviously to him as defense minister, but also to the opposition, given we are in a caretaker period," Gillard told Australian Associated Press

The documents cover the period 2004-09 with an initial tranche released to various U.S., United Kingdom and German publications by the website WikiLeaks.

The most controversial allegations center around claims that Pakistan's intelligence service has continued to assist the Taliban insurgency despite Pakistan government insistence there was no ongoing relationship.

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