WikiLeaks: We don't know source of leaked data

Jul 28, 2010 By RAPHAEL G. SATTER , Associated Press Writer
Founder and editor of the WikiLeaks website, Julian Assange, faces the media during a debate event, held in London Tuesday July 27, 2010. On Sunday, the online whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released some 90,000 leaked U.S. army and intelligence documents relating to the war in Afghanistan, which have been highlighted as potentially putting American military lives at risk, although Assange says there is "no reason" to doubt the reliability of the leaked documents.(AP PHOTO/Max Nash)

(AP) -- WikiLeaks' editor-in-chief claims his organization doesn't know who sent it some 91,000 secret U.S. military documents on the Afghan war, telling journalists the website was set up to hide the source of its data from those who receive it.

Julian Assange didn't say whether he meant he had no idea who leaked the documents or whether his organization simply could not be sure. But he did say the added layer of secrecy helped protect the site's sources from spy agencies and hostile corporations.

"We never know the source of the leak," he told journalists at London's Frontline Club late Tuesday. "Our whole system is designed such that we don't have to keep that secret."

U.S. officials said U.S. operatives inside Afghanistan and Pakistan may be in danger following the massive online disclosure Sunday.

In his first public comments, President said the leak of classified information from the battlefield "could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations."

The president spoke Tuesday in Washington after meeting with leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate from both parties.

In Baghdad, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters he was "appalled" by the leak.

"There is a real potential threat there to put American lives at risk," he said.

In London, Assange spoke for nearly two-and-a-half hours, outlining his site's mission and methods, and defending it from criticisms that it had put lives at risk by putting mountains of classified information in the public domain.

While he acknowledged the site's anonymous submissions raised concerns about the authenticity of the material, he said WikiLeaks had yet to be fooled by a bogus document.

"We do see wholly fabricated submissions, usually around election time," he said, but added they were "quite rare."

Assange said WikiLeaks had ex-military and former intelligence workers "in our network," people who could help evaluate whether documents leaked from the armed forces or spy agencies were genuine.

The website's worse fear, he said, was not a complete forgery but a real document that had been subtly tampered with. Still, he said he had yet to see that happen.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a Pentagon investigation will determine whether criminal charges will be filed in the leaking of the documents. Holder, speaking Wednesday during a visit to Egypt, said the Justice Department is working with the Pentagon-led investigation to determine the source of the leak.

In addition to the Taliban, the raw data may also prove useful to hostile intelligence services in countries such as China and Russia, who have the resources to process and make sense of such vast vaults of data, said Ellen McCarthy, former U.S. intelligence officer and president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

Former CIA chief Michael Hayden added: "If I'm head of the Russian intelligence, I'm getting my best English speakers and saying: 'Read every document, and I want you to tell me, how good are these guys? What are their approaches, their strengths, their weaknesses and their blind spots?'"

Assange agreed the files offered insight into U.S. tactics. But he said that was nothing new for his Web site, noting that WikiLeaks already carries a copy of the U.S. Special Forces' 2006 manual for southern Afghanistan.

"We put out that stuff all the time," he said.

He seemed irritated when a member of the audience pressed him on whether there were ever any legitimate national security concerns that would prevent him from publishing a leaked document.

"It is not our role to play sides for states. States have national security concerns, we do not have national security concerns," he said.

"You often hear ... that something may be a threat to U.S. national security. This must be shot down, whenever this statement is made. A threat to U.S. national security? Is anyone serious? The security of the entire nation of the United States? It is ridiculous!" he declared.

But he admitted that individual cases were different.

"If we are talking a threat to individual soldiers ... or citizens of the United States, then that is potentially a genuine concern," he said.

---

Associated Press Writer Kimberly Dozier in Washington and Sarah El Deeb in Cairo contributed to this story.

---

Online:

: http://wikileaks.org/

Frontline Club: http://frontlineclub.com/

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User comments : 34

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Noumenon
1 / 5 (6) Jul 28, 2010
The person who leaked to this typical activist dolt Assange, should be immediately arrested and shot.

And why is this in technology on PhysOrg,... because treason can now be automated?
El_Nose
5 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2010
its here because this is a question on philosophy and technology usage.

Musashi
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2010
Just because there was a great deal of information compiled, does not mean the individual bits are particularly relevant, or much different from what is leaked on a regular basis, or from what should be public record in the first place. Transparency is paramount if one is expected to reasonably trust one's government's motivations, as opposed to blind faith in their assumed righteousness. There would be no problem in the nondisclosure of sensitive material, if what is "sensitive" was left to the people's discretion. If any instance that might make the military look bad is top-secret, there is no basis for trust.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2010
If counter intelligence decided to flood WikiLeaks with false information, would Julian Assange try to determine the source or allow the information on his web site?
Musashi
1 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2010
How can he tell what is or what isn't false information, if he doesn't know who supplied it? Personally, I would not expect him to make those judgments by himself, as that would rather undermine the principle.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2010
If counter intelligence decided to flood WikiLeaks with false information, would Julian Assange try to determine the source or allow the information on his web site?

He'd post it. Assange is vile. He wants to be seen as a muckraker when he's really just a tabloid journalist with a meglomaniacal activist persona.
Noumenon
2 / 5 (4) Jul 29, 2010
Just because there was a great deal of information compiled, does not mean the individual bits are particularly relevant, or much different from what is leaked on a regular basis, or from what should be public record in the first place. Transparency is paramount if one is expected to reasonably trust one's government's motivations, as opposed to blind faith in their assumed righteousness. There would be no problem in the nondisclosure of sensitive material, if what is "sensitive" was left to the people's discretion. If any instance that might make the military look bad is top-secret, there is no basis for trust.


You can't have transparency and effective military strategy at the same time. There are leftists anti-war activist who will undermine any and all military efforts at every opportunity. You're comically naive to say that sensitive (top secrete) documents should be defined as such according to everyones analysis! Duh.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
Just because there was a great deal of information compiled, does not mean the individual bits are particularly relevant, or much different from what is leaked on a regular basis, or from what should be public record in the first place.
You do understand that the majority of what Assange leaked were documents detailing information about anti-Taliban informants amongst the general populace, don't you? Those people, and their families are now being hunted and murdered by jihadists because of Assange's "journalistic work".
Musashi
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
You can't have transparency and effective military strategy at the same time. There are leftists anti-war activist who will undermine any and all military efforts at every opportunity. You're comically naive to say that sensitive (top secrete) documents should be defined as such according to everyones analysis! Duh.


I didn't say "everyones". There are representatives that are allegedly educated enough to know what should and should not constitute "sensitive" material, a decision that should not rely solely on the military perspective, and I would think this is obvious.
Musashi
1 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2010
You do understand that the majority of what Assange leaked were documents detailing information about anti-Taliban informants amongst the general populace, don't you? Those people, and their families are now being hunted and murdered by jihadists because of Assange's "journalistic work".

That's actually interesting. I'm quite sure jihadists will be more keen to find these people in someone else's "journalistic work", such as "The Times". The information wouldn't be nearly as "out there" without these papers taking out the info that might put Afghans at risk, eliminating the need to go through 90,000 documents. If they didn't know, they sure as hell do now.
Musashi
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
And seriously... the majority of 90,000 documents is about these people? Yeah, right...
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2010
That's actually interesting. I'm quite sure jihadists will be more keen to find these people in someone else's "journalistic work", such as "The Times". The information wouldn't be nearly as "out there" without these papers taking out the info that might put Afghans at risk, eliminating the need to go through 90,000 documents. If they didn't know, they sure as hell do now.


Hmm, funny. I get the Times and I haven't seen a list of names and addresses, as well as parentage and village location for ANY anti-Taliban Afghanis within its pages, ever.

So what other ridiculous thing do you want to make up to defend this moron.
And seriously... the majority of 90,000 documents is about these people? Yeah, right...

So do you feel knowledgable enough to comment on them when you haven't read ANY of the pages included in the release?
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 29, 2010
There would be no problem in the nondisclosure of sensitive material, if what is "sensitive" was left to the people's discretion - Musashi.

You can't have transparency and effective military strategy at the same time. There are leftists anti-war activist who will undermine any and all military efforts at every opportunity. You're comically naive to say that sensitive (top secrete) documents should be defined as such according to everyones analysis! Duh.


I didn't say "everyones". There are representatives that are allegedly educated enough to know what should and should not constitute "sensitive" material, a decision that should not rely solely on the military perspective, and I would think this is obvious.


You said "The People"; You don't know what you're talking about. Military POLICY is ALREADY determined by representatives. What is being discussed here is leaking info to idiot activists who act against the military because of what THEY think is right.
Musashi
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
Hmm, funny. I get the Times and I haven't seen a list of names and addresses, as well as parentage and village location for ANY anti-Taliban Afghanis within its pages, ever.


Granted, it omits the actual names or places, but you can't deny they claim the names are in there, giving actual sentences to locate them, as opposed to having to let people go through 90,000 documents to find them.

So do you feel knowledgable enough to comment on them when you haven't read ANY of the pages included in the release?


Of course I'm making several assumptions, and don't mind being corrected. What I don't feel is warranted is this hostility and rudeness by the likes of Noumenon. So tell me how many names are mentioned.
Musashi
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
Military POLICY is ALREADY determined by representatives.


And these leaked documents give a sense of just how much the military strays from this policy.
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 29, 2010
In all wars things get broken that weren't meant to be,... this does not imply military policy targets civilians, etc. The point is that intellectual children will USE such occurrences to undermine a ligitimate war effort, merely because THEY think they have discovered that war is bad, and that everyone else is wrong. The only way to account for such arrogance is the result of stupidity.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2010
Military POLICY is ALREADY determined by representatives.


And these leaked documents give a sense of just how much the military strays from this policy.


Can you give an example?
Musashi
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
In all wars things get broken that weren't meant to be,... this does not imply military policy targets civilians, etc.


You may find my position untenable, but I am neither averse to black ops (in the general sense), nor to the leaking of documents that expose them. I acknowledge both "rights", or the motivations behind them.

The point is that intellectual children will USE such occurrences to undermine a ligitimate war effort.


I honestly think the legitimacy of the war effort correlates to how transparent the war is.
Musashi
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
Can you give an example?


What about the Pakistani complicity issue?
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 29, 2010
That's where you are profoundly wrong about this issue.

There are already treaties that outline modern rules of war and to define war crimes, etc, and appropriate international bodies established to investigate such things.

That's not what going on here. Information is being leaked for the sake of undermining the war effort by mush-headed treasonist activists.

Again, is there some claim of war crime policy that was uncovered,.. no!
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
Granted, it omits the actual names or places, but you can't deny they claim the names are in there, giving actual sentences to locate them, as opposed to having to let people go through 90,000 documents to find them.
Yes I can. Go ahead and link one article where an in situ active informant is uniquely identified and named.
Of course I'm making several assumptions, and don't mind being corrected.
You appear to mind it very much since you're not admitting that you're in error, nor are you of objective knowledge and authority. You're playing the bleeding heart role when there's no basis for it to be done. Being against military secrecy is one thing, you're advocating the wholesale slaughter of thousands of people through leaking of classified information. That's the basis for hostility, you're acting in a heartless and uninformed manner to the great detriment of people who will always be "out of sight, out of mind."
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 29, 2010
Can you give an example?


What about the Pakistani complicity issue?


What about it? We know some Pakistani's are working against us under the table. The Law is you can't leak military documents that are classified secret, ..not "you can't leak military documents that are classified secret, unless something interesting is found"

Perhaps counter-intel did not want the Pakistani's to know we knew. The point is the doc's are SECRET.
Musashi
Jul 29, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
What about the Pakistani complicity issue?

Not exactly a secret. The fact we knew the names and dates of pakistani meetings between army officials and taliban operatives was new. As soon as it was leaked any and all intel we would have gained was utterly lost.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
Fine, ya'll win.


We can agree on that. :)
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
Fine, ya'll win.

There's no winner here.

If anything Assange has prolonged the war effort, and if you really are against the military actions in the middle east, you'd be as furious about his transgressions as I am.

Now when the video showing the reporters being shot was leaked, that's a different story. That needed to come out. These documents did not. A real muckraker, or even well intentioned journalist would have recognized that. Assange is doing this for personal glory and notoriety, for that he should be jailed.
Musashi
5 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2010
If anything Assange has prolonged the war effort, and if you really are against the military actions in the middle east, you'd be as furious about his transgressions as I am.


I might be furious, if I wasn't such a cynic. I certainly expect anything to be used as an excuse to prolong the war effort.

Now when the video showing the reporters being shot was leaked, that's a different story. That needed to come out. These documents did not. A real muckraker, or even well intentioned journalist would have recognized that. Assange is doing this for personal glory and notoriety, for that he should be jailed.


His reasons aside, fact of the matter is, he claims to have filtered out certain information in the documents. I'm not comfortable with this double standard. If he filters stuff, then he assumes responsibility for what is left.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2010
In all wars things get broken that weren't meant to be,... this does not imply military policy targets civilians, etc.
It implies "collateral damages", i.e. killing innocents.
The point is that intellectual children will USE such occurrences to undermine a ligitimate war effort,
A legitimate war effort? Killing innocents is never legitimate.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2010
Again innocent people are not the targets (by USA), and all wars ever faught has had collateral damage. That by-standers get hurt is never a rational reason not to defend from and destroy enemies. The motivation is not "killings innocents", thats your PETA'esque mentality manufacturing a caricature of the situation in lieu of thinking.

frajo
not rated yet Jul 31, 2010
Again innocent people are not the targets (by USA),
Hiroshima. Nagasaki.
and all wars ever faught has had collateral damage.
No legitimation.
That by-standers get hurt is never a rational reason not to defend from
Defense?
and destroy enemies.
Definition?
The motivation is not "killings innocents",
You are responsible not for what you want to do, but for what you do.
thats your PETA'esque mentality manufacturing a caricature of the situation in lieu of thinking.
Nice rhetorics.


frajo
not rated yet Jul 31, 2010
Daniel Ellsberg on WikiLeaks:
http://www.truth-...erg61831
Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2010
Historical context does not matter to you because you use facts like they are arrows. 

Between Japan and the USA some 2.5 million military had already died during WWII prior to ending the war with nukes. Japan refused to give up after the first bomb, this proves they wanted all-out war, where probably another million lives would have been lost just in military. The Japanese military slaughtered millions of civilians. This was internationally regarded as war crimes, by contrast the American atomic bombings were not. Why? Because estimates determined that several magnitude more lives would have been lost fighting a traditional war with Japan.

But such analysis peace nicks will never understand because it requires being ensconced in the historical context where some 50 million world wide lost their lives
Noumenon
1 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2010
You parce out half sentences and counter with solitary words without any relevant context. Are you so naive to suggest that war is never justified in any conceivable context? Has it ever been possible to conduct war surgically without unintended civilian causulties? Naïveté is considering matters within a context that satisfies the selfish emotional mentally of "What should be" rather than dealing with "what is".
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Aug 01, 2010
Are you so naive to suggest that war is never justified in any conceivable context?
War is never justified, but on occasion it has shown necessity due to the parties involved.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2010
yes, well, If war is "shown to be necessary" that is all that is meant by "justified" here. No one is saying War is good in and of itself. That is a straw man invented by narrow minded PETA members and peace nicks. By the USA it is generally thought of as to save lives. If I was a anti-frajo, I would accuse him being evil in not wanting to save lives.

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