Pentagon braces for Wikileaks' Iraq files publication

10:09, October 23, 2010      

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U.S. Defense Department is preparing Friday for publication by whistleblower website WikiLeaks of classified military documents from Iraq operations, as department officials warned their potential endangerment to troops and civilians.

"We strongly condemn the unauthorized disclosure of classified information and will not comment on these leaked documents other than to note that 'significant activities' reports are initial, raw observations by tactical units," press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters. "They are essentially snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane, and do not tell the whole story."

Geoff claimed the period covered by these reports has been " well-chronicled in news stories, books and films and the release of these field reports does not bring new understanding to Iraq's past."

Pentagon said it does not know for sure what Wikileaks will publish, but expects the same type of documents the site put online in July about the Afghan conflict. WikiLeaks put 77,000 documents from the Afghanistan war.

A Pentagon task force has been combing through the Iraq data base to assess the damage that a proposed WikiLeaks publication of 400,000 significant activity reports could pose to the U.S. military, Iraqis, and the on-going operations in Iraq, said Pentagon officials.

"If the release of documents is four times what it was for the Afghan logs, this is larger in that sense," said Pentagon spokesman Dave Lapan. "But in view of the types of information, the two are very similar."

Task force officials, he said, concluded that WikiLeaks might release the names of Iraqis who cooperated with the coalition and information that could aid U.S. enemies.

The potential breach is dangerous, but not fatal, Lapan said, noting neither the Iraq, nor Afghanistan data bases contain intelligence sources and methods. But they do put the lives of troops and civilians at risk, Lapan said.

"These are raw observations from the tactical level of combat operations," he said. "They could be casualty incidents; they could be IED (Improvised Explosive Device) incidents, information on working with Iraqis -- any number of things that units use this database to report."

The data bases contain reports of every company level significant activity, Lapan said.

Source: Xinhua


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