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  (Source: flickr / essellessell)

Navy Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff  (Source: U.S. Department of Defense)
Turns out the Joint Chiefs of Staff's assessment that Wikileaks would have "blood" on its hands may be right

After a period of inactivity following the arrest of top U.S. military leaker Bradley Manning, Wikileaks roared back to life this week, releasing a virtual stockpile of 90,000 U.S. military documents on operations in Afghanistan, many of them classified.  Wikileaks chief Julian Assange, whose own organization operates in utter secrecy, criticized the U.S.'s lack of transparency and justified the leaks by saying they revealed questionable behavior by Pakistan and detailed 195 accidental civilian deaths on the hands of the U.S. and its allies.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen condemned the leak at a press conference.  Speaking to reporters, Mullen remarked that "Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing.  But the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family."

That prediction may have been proven correct.  A spokesperson named Zabihullah Mujahid who represents the Taliban, said that the group's leadership was thankful for the leaks and was pouring over the leaked documents searching for the names of the U.S.'s supporters in Afghanistan.

Mujahid states, "We are studying the report.  We knew about the spies and people who collaborate with U.S. forces.  We will investigate through our own secret service whether the people mentioned are really spies working for the U.S. If they are U.S. spies, then we know how to punish them."

The Taliban spokesperson bragged of past killings of local officials which he claims were informants.  He even recalls one occasion in which Taliban officers strapped "two alleged traitors to explosives before detonating them in public."  Other "traitors" have been murdered by means such as beheadings, shootings, or hangings.

Like journalists, the U.S. government says it tries to protect its sources and supporters.  Defense Secretary Gates commented, "I spent most of my life in the intelligence business, where the sacrosanct principle is protecting your sources.  It seems to me that, as a result of this massive breach of security, we have considerable repair work to do in terms of reassuring people and rebuilding trust, because they clearly—people are going to feel at risk."

President Obama has condemned the leak.  Before the leak, his administration's officials had reportedly begged 
Wikileaks' Assange to not release all the documents, saying they could endanger lives.

Assange admitted in media interviews that he did not review even the majority of the released documents personally.  It now appears that the documents may not just contain civilian death reports, but also records of U.S. supporters.





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