Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Image by biatch0r via FlickrWikiLeaks Faces Growing Pressure Over War Files : NPR
WikiLeaks, having prompted a torrent of criticism for its release of 76,000 secret U.S. military documents last month, now faces growing pressure to withhold or redact the remaining 15,000 classified documents in its possession.
U.S. officials say a criminal investigation into the leak of the documents is proceeding, and they warn that an additional release of classified material could expose the leakers to criminal prosecution. At the same time, prominent human rights groups are pressing WikiLeaks to proceed more carefully with further releases in order to safeguard individuals whose lives may be in danger if their identities are revealed.
The Obama administration has charged that by revealing military plans and intelligence sources and methods, WikiLeaks has already endangered U.S. troops and Afghan civilians. The Pentagon is now telling allied governments that their Afghanistan-based forces could also be vulnerable as a result of the massive leak.
"I imagine that our allies are thankful that we are bringing this to their attention, so they're aware of whatever exposure they may have in these documents," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell says. "I can also imagine that they are displeased with us right now. This is information that should have been better safeguarded, and now their troops are potentially at risk as well."
White House and Pentagon officials will not confirm published reports that the Obama administration is pressing other Western governments to launch investigations of their own, focusing on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but neither do they deny those reports.