Backlash over WikiLeaks release of Afghan war documents
There may be more shoes to drop from WikiLeaks if it releases another 15,000 documents on the Afghanistan war that the whistleblower website is reviewing. It is already seeing some backlash after releasing 75,000-plus documents on the Internet.
The Times of London reported Wednesday that the leaked documents expose informers helping U.S. forces and have put hundreds of Afghan lives at risk.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange responded in an interview from London with NBC’s “Today” show. “We are checking to see whether this is in fact credible. It is probably unlikely. We have taken care to in fact hold back 15,000 for review that should it have this type of material in it. If there are those names in there and they are at risk, this would be because of a misclassification by the U.S. military.”
The group has designed a computer system especially for reviewing the remaining documents, Assange said. “They have not been published and will not be published until they are significantly reviewed.”
The fallout over the documents is far from over.
The Washington Post interviewed retired Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, a former Pakistani spy chief who dismissed unconfirmed accusations from the leaked documents of helping Taliban fighters. He in turn charged that the document release was the beginning of a White House plot.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, during a roundtable with reporters in Cairo, said: ”I deplore the release of classified information. It is not really in the national interest of the United States to have that kind of material leaked.”
The Justice Department is working with the Pentagon in the investigation. “Whether there will be criminal charges brought will depend on how the investigation goes,” Holder said.
Photo credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning (Assange at news conference in London July 26)