Say that ten times fast:
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Thursday denounced the disclosure this week of 75,000 classified documents about the Afghanistan war by the Web site WikiLeaks, asserting that the security breach had endangered lives and damaged the ability of others to trust the United States government to protect their secrets. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Mr. Gates portrayed the documents as “a mountain of raw data and individual impressions, most several years old” that offered little insight into current policies and events.
“The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world…Intelligence sources and methods, as well as military tactics, techniques and procedures, will become known to our adversaries… We endeavor to push access to sensitive battlefield information down to where it is most useful — on the front lines — where as a practical matter there are fewer restrictions and controls than at rear headquarters…In the wake of this incident, it will be a real challenge to strike the right balance between security and providing our frontline troops the information they need.”
Mr. Gates said the documents’ disclosure had prompted a rethinking of a trend nearly two decades old, dating from the Persian Gulf war of 1991, of trying to make intelligence information more accessible to troops in combat situations so they can respond rapidly to developments.
Meanwhile, the leaker-in-chief, Assange, plans to leak more documents:
Assange said he wasn’t surprised by the White House’s condemnation of the leak. He said the U.S. government, like other scrutinized subjects, seeks to “criticize the messenger to detract from the power of the message.” He also rejected the notion that the leak would pose a security risk for the United States, saying that the material is more than seven months old and had no “operational consequence.”
Assange told reporters in London that what’s been reported so far on the leaked documents has “only scratched the surface” and said some 15,000 files on Afghanistan are still being vetted by his organization.