National Security

WikiLeaks Documents: How the Website Leaked Afghan War Files

WikiLeaks published a government document earlier this year in which the United States government said it wanted to destroy the website’s “center of gravity” by attacking its credibility. Based on the website’s disclosure of nearly 92,000 classified documents in conjunction with The New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel, we think it’s safe to say the government’s effort failed. The big scoops appear to be that Pakistan’s spy services are aiding the Afghan insurgency; the Taliban has obtained heat-seeking missiles for shooting down aircraft; and secret U.S. commandos are working with a “capture/kill” list of 70 Taliban leaders. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also said there appears to be evidence of war crimes in the documents. The leaks are believed to have come from Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was arrested in conjunction with an earlier leak. The New York Times says “Investigators now believe that Private Manning exploited a loophole in Defense Department security to copy thousands of files onto compact discs over a six-month period.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange then made the documents accessible to the newspapers by giving them access to a password-protected tranche online. National Security Adviser James Jones has called the publication of the documents “irresponsible.”