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Pentagon scrambles to assess Wikileaks damage

  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a press conference in London Monday July 26, 2010. Assange said Monday he believes there is evidence of war crimes in the thousands of pages of leaked U.S. military documents relating to the war in Afghanistan. The remarks came after WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing group, posted some 91,000 classified U.S. military records over the past six years about the war online, including unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings and covert operations against Taliban figures. (AP Photo/APTN, Pool) ** TV OUT **

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Monday it was trying to assess the damage caused by the Internet leak of some 91,000 classified documents on the Afghanistan war.

The documents are described as battlefield reports compiled by various military units that provide an unvarnished look at combat in the past six years, including U.S. frustration over reports Pakistan secretly aided insurgents and civilian casualties at the hand of U.S. troops.

Wikileaks.org, a self-described whistleblower organization, posted the reports to its website Sunday night.

Col. Dave Lapan, a Defense Department spokesman, said the military would probably need "days, if not weeks" to review all the documents and determine "the potential damage to the lives of our service members and coalition partners."

The White House says it didn't try to stop news organizations who had access to secret U.S. military documents from publishing reports about the leaks. However, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said it did ask Wikileaks — through reporters who were given advanced copies of the documents — to redact information in the documents that could harm U.S. military personnel.


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