Michael's Dispatches

Wikileaks: Statement from Office of U.S. Secretary of Defence


This just came in my email from Geoff Morrell:

"We deplore Wikileaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies. We know terrorist organizations have been mining the leaked Afghan documents for information to use against us and this Iraq leak is more than four times as large. By disclosing such sensitive information, Wikileaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us. The only responsible course of action for Wikileaks at this point is to return the stolen material and expunge it from their websites as soon as possible."


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lukas · 11 years ago
    Well, let's quote Morrell on the Afghanistan leak:
    "We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents," found here:

    Also worth reading on this:
  • This commment is unpublished.
    CalGirl · 11 years ago
    Well, big But(t), is your big butt sitting on an armchair? What else was Morrell supposed to say with regard to the Afghanistan leaks? Common sense might tell you to downplay the dangers of it. This Iraq thing is much bigger. I want to know how the hell this wikileaks guy is getting this information.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Robbo · 11 years ago
    Julian Assange and the Wikileaks team are being givin info by people within the system who think the masses should have access to it. Morrell says the informants are being induced by Wikileaks. I think its much more likely their being induced by their conscience
  • This commment is unpublished.
    UK observer · 11 years ago
    We had a similar breaking of 'confidential information' here in UK a little while ago. It showed just how corrupt and out of tune with the wider public many of our elected representatives (Members of Paliament) were/are. This was all to do with money...but it was the conscience of those dealing with the data that led to its exposure...and damning the data was! Thank goodness someone was prepared to stand up and leak the information.....many bad politicians were exposed and got rid of.
    In general I don't condone the release of sensitive information to the public (because I'm right wing!) - but just sometimes individuals and authorities (governments, defence institutions and the like) go beyond what some, who by virtue of having access to 'sensitive' information and therefore in privileged positions, consider is too far. Take the gunship footage - leaking the film (and sound) of the destruction of the Reuters photographer and the children in the 'ambulance' (plus others) by the helicopter gunships in Iraq - similarly exposed by Wikileaks - was in my opinion justified because it showed the mindless, indiscriminate and unjustified violence (and killing of innocents) that people are prosecuting 'in my name'. It is not in my name and I do not want it to be done with my taxpayer pounds (or dollars), because it is evil - irrespective of the belief of those charged or appointed to manage my (society's) protection.
    On the point of it providing evidence for our enemies to know what we're really upto - get real, you think they don't know?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    NHaridge · 11 years ago
    The line between what is properly and improperly kept secret will always by nature be vague and blurry. The question here is on what basis do we determine what constitutes a moral obligation to expose a secret and when is that acceptable. There's a lot of simplistic narratives going around and a lot of it sounds pretty knee-jerk to me. Is there a risk in providing classified information to the public domain that contains operational details? Yes. The "what wouldn't they already know" argument falls flat. The environment in which our forces operate is not a static matter of procedure, but a shifting and evolving phenomenon. We stay ahead by adapting and without knowing exactly what the enemy knows or does not know (a practical impossibility) there is no way to determine that giving out operational details to the public is without significant risk.

    Arguments relating to the "We have yet to see any harm..." comment also fall flat. How often can you really expect to be able to draw that line, whether it's true or not, and be able to evidence the claim? What we have now is no evidence to support or deny the dangers that our forces have been exposed to due to the leaks. Since we do have ample reason to be concerned at the risk the comment itself can be seen as a fairly hollow statement. So now we've got the argument of morality; the argument that it is permissible for an individual to determine of their own accord that a classified piece of information they've come across by virtue of position should be revealed to the world. I have a hard time swallowing that. Of all the people I know personally I wouldn't trust any of them to be able to make that decision, and I'm not entirely certain I could either. From what I can tell, it takes a pretty simplistic (there's that word again) perspective to be able to say that "I know what's best for my country, and I know everything I need to know about this piece of information to say it's in my country's best interest to reveal it despite the institutions with greater and broader knowledge of the subject having determined otherwise."

    I know damn well I don't have all the facts nor even come close. I'm not an expert on the politics, strategy or psychology of the situation. That being said I have yet to see any argument that redeems Wikileaks for it's actions thus far that stands up to reason. I still laugh at how so many swallowed the circus act that surrounded the Iraq gunship video, but that's a discussion that's been had over and over and I'm not going to rehash it. Point is I think we need to really look at what they're doing and their justifications. Whether we agree or not over what they've chosen to release it takes more than an emotional response to determine if what Wikileaks and their contributors are doing is right.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MTurvey · 11 years ago
    First NHaridge, very well put. You have taken the emotion out of the argument and used sane reasonable arguments.
    My own OPINION, and thats all it is, is that if people were truly concerned with what they perceived as wrongs being committed why would they not restrict their leaks to those specific incidents. To say that ALL of the info constitutes evidence of warcrimes is absurd at best. Errors were made but if I am not mistaken the evidence as "released" by wiki shows that these incidents were being reported and investigated.
    The "release" of hundreds of thousands of documents is a "dump" of classified material, it is not a leak of damnatory evidence. (I have no idea if thats a real word but I like it)
    The individuals who have access to this material also have a legal obligation to preserve its classified nature and have broken the law -PERIOD.
    Those people who defend it based on some supposed "higher morality" cannot back up their arguments with any reasonable facts. Theirs is a self righteous, "laws only apply if I like them" attitude.
    I am surprised that there appears to be no law that covers the "release" of classified documents as unlawful by entities such as Assanges Wiki, but, hopefully we will not see too much harm to our troops and the Iraqis who apparently are named in these documents.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve - Indiana · 11 years ago
    With our wonderful liberal media out there, I fear that the info from these documents that gets reported. Will only be the stuff they feel is bad and damning evidence just to try and prove their "Bush was a bad guy" theory.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rickey · 11 years ago
    I would understand if war crimes were the ONLY things being reported here because in my most humbles opionion, war crimes of any crimes should be reported, no matter who is committing them. But in this case, it doesn't look like this is happening. Thousands & thousands of documents are being from the DoD are being released online and that is not right-putting U.S. soilders and our allies lives @ risk. This is the problem with the "WikiLeaks" and Mr. Assange needs to pay for his actions.....justice will be served...

    Michael, on another note....i already pre-ordered your book but and two questions....i want to order another one for my father-in-law who was in vietnam as a green beret in vietnam..but are the books going to be sent out in time for christmas? Also, i've been raising $$ for soilders angels and you...Pm on FB where to send the $$$ ...my work schedule is busy..so i might not get back on here if you reply here...thanks

    Rickey R.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    That dude in DFW · 11 years ago
    "IRAQ: INSIDE THE INFERNO will come off the press for shipment late this year before the holidays"
  • This commment is unpublished.
    kevin Bender · 11 years ago
    I think those folks should be tried for Treasion and hanged, who give our information to enemy. Maybe contract out the work...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Edson · 11 years ago
    We were "at war" for a while after 9/11 but not for too long. We came to be in some inbetween condition over time. Perhaps we will learn better how to deal with the nationless "opposition" over time. I hope so. We are suffering from "a war of 1000 cuts".
    We will adapt or not.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Warbucks · 11 years ago
    Rule #22: When code is broken, continue its use to gain counter-intelligence. Me thinks the lady protests too much.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mitchell · 11 years ago
    Thank you for your work and sacrifice, Michael. I'm looking forward to "Inside the Inferno," and I'm already enjoying one of your Himalayas photos as the background on my desktop, reminding me each day of the wider, and wilder, world you make accessible to folks like me. Thanks!

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