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Pentagon braces for WikiLeaks release of 400,000 Iraq war files

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-15

The Pentagon said on Friday it was reviewing an Iraq war database to prepare for the expected WikiLeaks release on Monday of some 400,000 secret military files. In July, the website published 77,000 classified reports on the Afghan war.

AFP - The Pentagon said Friday it was scouring through an Iraq War database to prepare for potential fallout from an expected release by WikiLeaks of some 400,000 secret military reports.
   
The massive release is set to dwarf the whistleblower website's publication of 77,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan in July, including the names of Afghan informants and other details from raw intelligence reports. Another 15,000 are due out soon.
   

In order to prepare for Monday's anticipated release of sensitive intelligence on the US-led Iraq War, officials set up a 120-person taskforce several weeks ago to comb through the database to "determine what the possible impacts might be," said Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.
   
The Department of Defense is concerned the leak compiles "significant activities" from the war, or SIGACTS, which include incidents such as known attacks against coalition troops, Iraqi security forces, civilians or infrastructure in the country.
   
The data was culled from an Iraq-based "tactical reports database" that contained "significant acts, unit-level reporting, tactical reports, things of that nature," said Lapan, noting that Pentagon officials still do not know how many and which documents would be released.
   
He urged WikiLeaks to return the documents to the US military.
   
"Our position is redactions don't help, it's returning the documents to their rightful owner," Lapan said.
   

"We don't believe WikiLeaks or others have the expertise needed. It's not as simple as just taking out names. There are other things and documents that aren't names that are also potentially damaging."
   
Launched in 2006, WikiLeaks is facing internal troubles amid criticism its releases harm US national security and an ongoing investigation into its founder, Julian Assange, over an alleged sex crime in Sweden.
   
It also has some money problems.
   
Assange told The Guardian that British firm Moneybookers, an online payment company it uses to collect donations, closed his website's account in August after the US and Australian governments blacklisted WikiLeaks in the days following the initial release of Afghan documents.
   
The website has been undergoing "scheduled maintenance" since September 29, but promises to "be back online as soon as possible."
  

Date created : 2010-10-15

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