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Pentagon demands Wikileaks return documents

Eleven days after the renegade Web site Wikileaks publicly disclosed more than 70,000 classified U.S. field reports from the war in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Thursday that it wants them all back.

Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters that the Pentagon was formally demanding - through the news media - that Wikileaks return the reports, as well as 15,000 additional records that the Web site says it might release soon.

"We are asking them to do the right thing and not further exacerbate the damage done to date," he said. "If doing the right thing is not good enough for them, we'll figure out what other alternatives we have." He declined to elaborate on whether the Defense Department was contemplating legal action, but noted that the FBI and Justice Department are investigating how the documents were leaked.

Morrell said the demand was a response, in part, to assertions by people affiliated with Wikileaks that the Web site was trying to reach out to the Pentagon, in hopes of collaborating with defense officials on a review of the 15,000 or so documents that haven't been released yet. Wikileaks has said it is delaying the disclosure as part of a "harm minimization process" so it can possibly redact names and other information.

No one at the Pentagon has been contacted by anyone purporting to speak on behalf of Wikileaks, Morrell said. He added that defense officials are not interested in reviewing the classified material with the group. "We're not getting involved in harm minimization conversations," he said. "We're asking them to return stolen property."

Morrell acknowledged that the "genie is out of the bottle" in regard to the 70,000-plus reports that are not only posted on the Wikileaks site, but have since been copied and downloaded by people all over the world. He said the Pentagon was primarily interested in blocking the release of the 15,000 still-secret documents.

"I don't know that we're very confident they'll have a change of heart," he added. "I don't know what to expect from this organization."

Shortly after Morrell's remarks, Wikileaks responded with a statement on its Twitter page: "Obnoxious Pentagon spokesperson issues formal threat against WikiLeaks: Destroy everything, or else."

By Craig Whitlock  | August 5, 2010; 3:24 PM ET
 
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Comments

I am India's expert in strategic defence and the father of India's strategic program, including the Integrated Guided Missiles Development Program. I have shown in my blog titled 'Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.', which can be found by a Google search with the title, that all terrorism and insurgencies in the Indian subcontinent and in much of the rest of the world is sponsored by the C.I.A. Both Pakistan's ISI and India's RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) function as branches of the C.I.A. and participate in terrorism and insurgencies throughout the Subcontinent, under direction of the C.I.A. Yes, the ISI secretly supports the Taliban but it does so under direction from the C.I.A. whose modus operandi is support for ALL sides of a conflict to control the course of the conflict in service of its own goals. The goal of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and partial occupation of Pakistan is eventual occupation and overt colonial rule over the Subcontinent as a whole. This will not be permitted and all those participating in this enterprise, including the U.K., will be duly punished; see my blog. The document leak currently in the news has been made in preparation for abandonment of this goal and withdrawal from Afghanistan because of steps I have already taken for the nuclear destruction of New Delhi and then the coast-to-coast destruction of the United States by India with 5,000 thermonuclear warheads and extermination of its population; see my blog.

Posted by: SatishChandra | August 5, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Send Eric Holder over there to get the material. Hopefully, he can be good a running errands, if nothing else. What a waste of tax payer money this clown is.

(Do you thing there might be many copies of this distributed over all the world?)

Posted by: richard36 | August 5, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Share and share alike. Seems only fair for Washington to open its records pertaining to 9/11. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. What must really be making their skin crawl is the possibility that sensitive material pertaining to 9/11 could be accessed. Revelations might be forthcoming if the sanitation department begins showing up in unusual places.

Posted by: neddelaney | August 5, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't this little germ been eliminated from the planet, along with his friends?

Posted by: madmike272 | August 5, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

So, now Assange is coming to realize that his document dump may kill people, so he is asking the Pentagon to assist him in his "harm minimization" program. This is an acknowledgement that the first release was harmful. I hope someone somewhere finds a way to prosecute this guy. He's an Aussie and Oz is still technically in the war, so maybe Oz can prosecute him.

Posted by: Afraid4USA | August 5, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Assange and his staff should be charged with espionage. Then they should be tried in absentia and convicted. After that, we ask for him to be extradited from any allied country. We could make it very hot for this traitorous SOB. Personally, I'd prefer a wet work team to kill him painfully and slowly. But Barry's too much of a wuss for that.

Posted by: fleiter69 | August 5, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Did Wikileaks lead to the deaths of as many people as did the neocon tsunami of lies about Iraq and WMD?

Charge Assange only after we charge Bush, Cheney, Rummy, and the rest of the neocons traitors.

Posted by: Garak | August 5, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

No. 1. Obama and all MSM mouthpieces said when the info broke that there was nothing new there. So what's the fuss, surely the President does not lie, does he?
No. 2. The Pentagon can go online and read the info like anybody else.
No. 3. There should be no prior restraint on the press, according to the Constitution and the courts, unless Obama has turned America into a dictatorship while we were sleeping.

Posted by: llrllr1 | August 5, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Why, so they can avoid disclosing more murders, or worse? I'm sick of the country letting murderers, drug dealers, and crooks go free while prosecuting those who have revealed the truth. I voted for Obama but he seems to be backing away from the things he should be supporting.

Posted by: tojo45 | August 5, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Wikileaks was sent the documents electronically, I assume. So, how can they be returned, except electronically? And, you can bet many copies of the non-released docs are in multiple server locations, God knows where. If the USA or other countries do assasinate Assange, who knows what will be released next. Plus others will jump in to fill the void. Best bet for the USA, develop a much better system to prevent leaks. Documents that can self-destruct after sometime or something? The problem, the cat is out of the bag. And, it won't easily go back in.

Posted by: magnifco1000 | August 5, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

@fleiter69: sorry, but that's not how the law works. How on earth do you think you can charge Assange etc with espionage. He's not a U.S. citizen and there's no suggestion he has been in the U.S. spying. What evidence do you have of espionage? I've not heard of any.

He might have received stolen property (I have no idea on the source of what has been disclosed) but that's an entirely different issue. Was the "Pentagon Papers" scenario "theft" or "espionage"? Is this one that different?

Please get a grip on the legal processes involved and don't allow yourself to be sucked into the death-squad rhetoric.

Posted by: vdev | August 5, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Chandra & others in India need to take notice of the fact that the Wikileaks documents are old allegations. They are not current, nor are the ISI allegations highly substantiated. It would be a mistake to think that the Taliban is somehow operating as some back channel organ of the Pakistan government. The opposite is true. The Taliban is, and in the past has, acted with violence towards India with the goal of destabilizing the government of Pakistan. It would be a tragedy for India to lose sight of the Taliban's imperialist agenda there & throughout the rest of the world.

As for Wikileaks, well they seem to be the obnoxious ones in this mess. It's probably worth noting that the people working on these unreleased documents are breaking laws.

Posted by: Nymous | August 5, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

A bit more transparency would help the DOD. The United States simply isn't getting anywhere in Afghanistan. It is not our soldiers -- they win every battle. It is the mission. The mission is fundamentally flawed. The Afghan war log provides an accurate record of what is actually occurring on the ground. We can't go on paying for the military occupation of Afghanistan. There is nothing more to win there. Let's put the truth on our side!

Posted by: chucka1 | August 5, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about the situation with Pvt. Manning being the source of the Wikileaks info. Maybe he was, maybe not - I don't know.

But a few weeks ago we had many stories about someone leaking information, including many cables from State Department, and others.

If it does turn out that these are in fact the same, then I wonder what the security people are up to. There is no valid reason, as far as I can see, that a private in a FOB in Iraq should have open access to everything in SIPRnet, as has been suggested.

If it was indeed Pvt. Manning, and if this was the access that he had, then he is not the only one who should be held in Quantico. Let the chips fall where they may, and let those responsible accept the responsibility - whoever they may be.

Posted by: vdev | August 5, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

US Pentagon demands wikileaks documents

Well US Pentagon -

Show up at the Hague - and so shall you have them.

Considering what the US did at Abu Ghraib ?

I foresee Wikileaks getting protection from the UN and NATO forces if necessary.

It's all those damned icicles.

The UN isn't too favorable about the US invasion into Iraq- and it was rightly so to be concerned. NOW the UN gets to see first hand just what US Attorney General John Ascroft meant when he said of Abu Ghraib- "now the Iraqi's can get a real taste of western democracy".

I hope the Iraqi's SUE the US DOJ

I hope the Hague handles PROPER disposal of extremist theocracies gone wild !

Such AS what Bush brought in in 2000- an Extremist Christian FASCIST THEOCRACY - I'd even argue 9.11 was BECAUSE OF THIS.

Tim Miltz

Posted by: NationalismDividesHumanity | August 5, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

With the pump primed

Soon the HAGUE will be DEMANDING the US PENTAGON TURN OVER IT'S FILES.

No kidding.

Look on the bright side people.

We're going to get a fully functional Department of Justice back - that's plus !

Really- I look forward to it.

Bush is gone - and the Generals who face war crimes now are shivering - no commute THIS TIME ! Bush is GONE !

Posted by: NationalismDividesHumanity | August 5, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen and he is not subject to US laws or jurisdiction. His WikiLeaks website has uncovered many matters that needed to be exposed and these Pentagon documents certainly needed to see the light of day.

It is only because of websites like WikiLeaks and the bravery of those who have the courage to expose the travesties of governments and companies, that the public even get to know what is going on.

The crimes of the US and administration and government need to be exposed, so that the people can see the war crimes, belligerence, lies, fabrications, illegal interference in the affairs of other nations and much more.

I really hope that WikiLeaks blows the whistle on everything it can lay its hands on. The travesties of the Afghan and Iraq wars need to be uncovered and the war criminals in the US administration and military need to be brought to justice.

I commend the people who supplied WikiLeaks with those documents and hope that they and many others can keep doing so.

Posted by: ziggyzap | August 5, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The Pentagon can handle this in a much easier manner through its Psyops program. Drug Assange and put him in a bordello selling the favors of underage boys, then raid the place. Turn the tables on him and get his real dirt out in the open. Did he ever call Elton John a f@99ot? Express any admiration of any sort for Hitler? Maybe a faked recording of him conspiring with al Qaeda. To quote the Psyops captain in "The General's Daughter", "Mostly we f@$! with people's minds". They have the capability, and if they were smart they'd use it. Right now Assange is Robin Hood to a world sick of our country abusing its secrecy power to protect the criminal and the incompetent among them. Most Americans know that they, not Assange, are the true threat to our national security. If they were smart (and bacon developed flight capacity), the Pentagon would be looking for a way to discredit Assange and cut his popular support out from under him. But who ever accused the Pentagon of being smart?

Posted by: treetopflyer | August 5, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama could designate Assange a terrorist and issue a finding for him to be killed by US forces. 100% legal. You know why Asange is hiding? He knows this as well.

Posted by: magnifco1000 | August 5, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Wikileak's own response is their own best judge. They should heed their own words. Having people at risk places Wikeleaks as the culprit who divulges secrets for unprofitable gain.

Posted by: epespinoza43 | August 5, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse


I fully support Julian Assange and Wikileaks disclosure of the formerly 'Secret' documents. They are patriots in this and will help to bring down the rotten Socialist/Progressive Obunker Administration.

OTOH, Wikileaks is completely wrong in their interpretation of the DOD video showing Iraqi terrorists deaths along with embedded Reuters reporters. The DOD didn't assassinate anybody. They were only fighting back against the enemy Iraqi who CHOSE to assault the U.S. with weapons. The reporters too CHOSE to put themselves in harm's way by hanging out with the Iraqi fighters completely oblivious to the 'hurt' the U.S. was capable of putting upon them.

The reporters have no one to blame but themselves.

It's a WAR, right?

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Posted by: istompislam | August 5, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

One government "security analyst" type (a former Bush Leaguer) wrote:

"The problem is that you have a single government employee… who makes a judgment about the potential harm from such a leak. We don’t want someone making such a judgment."

Well --- YEAH, actually "we" DO want someone making such a judgment!

I for one am one of the tens of thousands WHO HAVE ABSOLUTELY MADE IT A POINT to go to www.Wikileaks.org and elsewhere to check out some of this stuff FOR MYSELF --- rather than relying on Whiz-Bang "Experts" associated with "the Government" to "think" for me! And I heartily recommend that EVERYONE ELSE in this supposedly "superior" and "enlightened" society SHOULD DO LIKEWISE!

Actually, the BRITISH leg of the Triad pulled together by the WikiLeaks folks to disseminate the information --- which is The Guardian (the British counterpart of the New York Times) --- seems to be the BEST compendium of ONE dimension of it (at least). Their journalistic team extracted from the whole database the IED incidents in Afghanistan and have put together an excellent interactive graphic that CONVEYS A "HIGH-ALTITUDE" HOLISTIC OVERVIEW of the whole mess that simply does NOT "shine through" to "We the (Small) People" in the slow-motion dribble-drabble of information that "seeps" through "our" daily news "diet".

It makes the point very clearly that the real BULK of the "military campaign" in AFGHANISTAN Is ACTUALLY very much like what Iraq became: A WAR OF ROADSIDE BOMBS AND ATTRITION! And THAT is what people here desperately NEED --- some realistic HIGH ALTITUDE PERSPECTIVE on what is actually going on!

I for one would VERY MUCH LIKE TO THANK the "leaker(s)", and also the folks at WikiLeaks who have provided a platform from which to do so, who have "liberated" the information disseminated in the "leak" from "the Enemy"! And I leave it to whomever may care to read this to decide for themselves whether by that term "enemy" I mean (1) the combatants "on the other side" (who certainly have possessed it all along), or (2) "our" at best MISguided (and maybe in many cases more like MISBEGOTTEN!) MIS"leadership" (who ALSO have had it all along --- indeed the only people who have NOT had it all along have been "We the (Small) People" --- OR MAYBE I MEAN BOTH OF THE FOREGOING!

MAYBE BOTH OF THOSE GROUPS ARE REALLY THE ACTUAL ENEMY!

Posted by: BirdsAbound | August 5, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

for those who support WikiLeaks please consider making a donation

http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Special:Support

it may very well be the best money you've ever spent

Posted by: asiago | August 5, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the more Wikileaks we have, the fewer wars of choice we will have, and that is a good thing.

Posted by: Jihm | August 5, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

All the warring parties and people in the Middle East know what is going on in their back yards. The documents released on the intranet just informed the rest of the world. The damage done was not to the US military but to the industrial military complex that can only make money out of ongoing conflicts. The main damage is that the American taxpayer was informed of what this costly war has not accomplished. The sooner the rum heads and bar flies in Washington DC quit funding this abolition the sooner we will have some fiscal responsibility. The war was started because the seers knew the US and the world was headed for a sever recession and the only a war could spur negative spending by the governments to pump moneys into the economies of the world. Guess what! We now have a war without end and a recession with no end in sight. I guess their crystal ball got smudged with oil and greed.

Posted by: OldCoot1 | August 5, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

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