News / USA

Pentagon Prepares for WikiLeaks Iraq Release

An Afghan War Diary on the Wikileaks website, 26 July 2010
An Afghan War Diary on the Wikileaks website, 26 July 2010
Al Pessin

A special team at the Pentagon is preparing to take action to protect American units and Iraqi citizens who officials say might be put in danger by the expected release of secret documents by the activist website WikiLeaks.  

The 120-member task force has been working in secret for months, reviewing a database of 400,000 Iraq War documents - believed to be the same documents WikiLeaks has.  A Pentagon spokesman, Marine Corps Colonel David Lapan, says the team has found information that would put people and military operations in danger.

"They found names of individuals," said Colonel Lapan. "The found, again, things that could give our enemies information about our capabilities and our operations that would be damaging.  So they are prepared, once documents start to appear, to take action based on those documents."

Colonel Lapan indicated that individual Iraqis will be notified if their names appear in the documents, and some military tactics might need to be changed.  

These documents are field reports of what are called "significant activities."  They are believed to cover the period from late 2003 to the middle of this year.  Colonel Lapan says that is a timeframe that has been "very well chronicled," so he does not expect major revelations about the conduct of the war.

"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.  They could be information on working with, in this case, Iraqis, any number of things that units use this database to report."

The colonel says some of the reports are just a few lines long.

The Pentagon has called on WikiLeaks to return all the secret material it has obtained, but the organization has refused.  Its officials say there is value in releasing the raw information.  But the Pentagon calls the wholesale release of the secret documents "irresponsible."

In a statement emailed to reporters Friday, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell called the documents "snapshots of events" that "do not tell the whole story."  He said U.S. "enemies will mine this information looking for insights into how we operate, cultivate sources and react in combat situations…"  Morrell says the publication of the material "could very well get our troops and those they are fighting with killed."

WikiLeaks published more than 70,000 similar documents from the Afghanistan War in March, and Pentagon officials issued similar dire warnings.  They acknowledge they can not point to any incident in which people died or operations were compromised by that release, but they say such consequences could still happen.

And Colonel Lapan also acknowledges that some other concerns about the initial release were not borne out, including fear the documents could contain the names of intelligence sources.

"The database in the case of Afghanistan, and also now in the case of the Iraq database, wouldn't contain intelligence sources and methods in it," he said. "The sources, again, that we talked about, are more people cooperating with our forces.  But in terms of intelligence sources, that's a different level."

Pentagon officials think they know what documents WikiLeaks has, and are ready to deal with their release.  But members of the special task force will be checking the website closely to see if there is any secret material made public that they were not expecting.

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid