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Damage from leaks? WH says disclosure alarming

Jul 26, 2010 5:18:00 PM - thestate.com
The monumental leak of classified Afghan war documents threatened Monday to create new conflict with Pakistan, whose spy agency was a focus of much of the material, and raised questions about Washington's own ability to protect military secrets. The White House called the disclosures "alarming" and scrambled to assess the damage.

The documents are described as battlefield reports compiled by various military units that provide an unvarnished look at combat in the past six years, including U.S. frustration over reports Pakistan secretly aided insurgents and civilian casualties at the hand of U.S. troops.

WikiLeaks.org, a self-described whistleblower organization, posted 76,000 of the reports to its website Sunday night. The group said it is vetting another 15,000 documents for future release.

Col. Dave Lapan, a Defense Department spokesman, said the military would probably need "days, if not weeks" to review all the documents and determine "the potential damage to the lives of our service members and coalition partners."

The White House says it didn't try to stop news organizations who had access to secret U.S. military documents from publishing reports about the leaks. However, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said it did ask WikiLeaks - through reporters who were given advanced copies of the documents - to redact information in the documents that could harm U.S. military personnel.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)