Newsweek Declassified explains that the Times of London story (behind subscription firewall) rocked the Wikileaks team of activists back on their heels. They expect major prizes for investigative journalism, not criticism for exposing informants to reprisals.
Apparently stung by complaints that publishing uncensored U.S. military reports could get people killed, the folks behind WikiLeaks are said to be postponing any further release of such documents.
After the site posted thousands of raw field reports from Afghanistan last week, fears arose that the material might include names or other details that might identify individuals who had collaborated with the Americans. Now, according to two sources familiar with WikiLeaksâ€™ holdings, activists associated with the site are combing through still unreleased material in its possession, trying to â€œredactâ€ potentially life-threatening information. The sources, requesting anonymity when discussing sensitive information, say itâ€™s not clear how long the review process will take. …
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks has posted a link to something it calls an â€œInsurance fileâ€ of 1.4 gigabytes on its Afghan documents page. News reports suggest that this file is heavily encrypted, and the challenge of downloading has certainly proved to be well beyond Declassifiedâ€™s primitive data-processing skills. Connoisseurs of paranoia will enjoy a warning from Iranâ€™s Fars News Agency that the â€œinsuranceâ€ posting may be an American trap to find out whoâ€™s interested in uncovering U.S. government secrets.
As Newsweek Declassified explained (July 27) Wikileaks is sitting on an even larger load of stolen reports, focused on Iraq.
The cache of classified U.S. military reports on the Iraq War as yet unreleased by WikiLeaks may be more than three times as large as the set of roughly 76,000 similar reports on the war in Afghanistan made public by the whistle-blower Web site earlier this week, Declassified has learned.
Three sources familiar with the Iraq material in WikiLeaks hands, requesting anonymity to discuss what they described as highly sensitive information, say itâ€™s similar to this weekâ€™s Afghanistan material, consisting largely of field reports from U.S. military personnel and classified no higher than the “secret” level. According to one of the sources, the Iraq material portrays U.S. forces being involved in a “bloodbath,” but some of the most disturbing material relates to the abusive treatment of detainees not by Americans but by Iraqi security forces, the source says.
Although WikiLeaks founder and principal operative, Julian Assange, provided three news organizationsâ€”The New York Times, London newspaper The Guardian, and the German weekly magazine Der Spiegelâ€”with weeks of advance access to the Afghan War material before making it public himself, heâ€™s apparently being more coy in his handling of the Iraq War material, the source indicates. Assange is keeping tighter personal control over the Iraq material than he maintained over the Afghan material, the source says, adding that itâ€™s not clear whether any media organizations have had advance access to it or when it might be made public.
A second source says there are indications that WikiLeaks has been receiving leaked material from sources besides Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army private who recently was charged by military authorities with illegally handling classified information.