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Pentagon ready and waiting to respond to next WikiLeaks release

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
The Pentagon is demanding that WikiLeaks not publish the documents and return whatever copies it has.
The Pentagon is demanding that WikiLeaks not publish the documents and return whatever copies it has.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • WikiLeaks is expected to publish 400,000 military documents from the Iraq war
  • The Pentagon has assembled 120 experts to review any published material
  • A Pentagon spokesman says the experts have a good idea of what might be published
  • But the experts don't know for certain what the website is planning, he says
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Washington (CNN) -- The Pentagon has assembled a group of 120 experts ready to review the anticipated publication by the website WikiLeaks of 400,000 military documents from the war in Iraq, according to Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan.

Lapan said the Pentagon's team of experts has a good idea of which documents WikiLeaks may be ready to leak, but the experts don't know for certain what the website is planning.

"We don't know how these documents might be released, when these documents might be released, in what number they might be released, so we're sort of preparing for all eventualities," Lapan said Monday.

In preparation, the task force has gone through what the Pentagon believes are the relevant documents -- "significant activities" reports from the Iraq war.

"The team has already reviewed all of the documents in the Iraq database," said Lapan. "And what they are prepared for is, once there is a release of documents, to evaluate them very quickly to see ... whether they are of concern to us."

If the anticipated leak happens, it will dwarf the release last summer of 76,000 documents related to the Afghan war, which remains one of the largest leaks of classified material in the history of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Lapan would give only a vague description of the documents that the Department of Defense believes are in the hands of WikiLeaks.

"Certainly some of the reporting are things that have been reported in the media for years, from civilian casualties, alleged detainee abuse, to any of those things," Lapan said. "Yes, they have been reported on. But names of individuals, again, some of those things. We'll just sort of wait and see what comes."

The Pentagon, as it did after the Afghan documents were leaked, is demanding that WikiLeaks not publish the documents on the internet and return whatever copies it may have.

"They can return them. They got them in a certain way, whether they were on disk or whatever, they can return those. Obviously we understand that nothing goes away forever, but the primary idea is they would not publish them," Lapan said.

Lapan also warned traditional news media outlets not to assist WikiLeaks.

"News organizations should be cautioned not to facilitate the leaking of classified documents with this disreputable organization known as WikiLeaks," he told reporters Monday. "The concern is that WikiLeaks as an organization should not be made more credible by having credible news organizations facilitate what they are doing."

 
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