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Pentagon demands Wikileaks files
The Pentagon tells Wikileaks to "do the right thing" and hand over leaked documents.
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2010 21:03 GMT
Wikileaks posted a video of a helicopter attack in Iraq earlier this year, sparking controversy [AFP]

The Pentagon has demanded that the whistle-blower website Wikileaks hand over all classified US military documents it has not yet published and remove existing material posted online.

Wikileaks is in possession of about 15,000 secret papers relating to the war in Afghanistan which it did not publish to protect those mentioned in the documents.   

"We are asking them to do the right thing," said Geoff Morrell, a Pentagon spokesman, as he made a public request for WikiLeaks to hand over the US documents and delete material it had put on the Internet.

"We hope they will honor our demands," he said, adding that the US government was the rightful owner of all the classified material in WikiLeaks' possession.

Wikileaks sparked controversy last month when it published more than 70,000 military documents relating to the war that revealed an unvarnished, and at times disturbing picture of the conflict.

The Pentagon said that the leak - the largest in military history- had put US troops and Afghan informers in danger. Morrell warned that more publications would cause further damage.

Task Force

A Pentagon task force of around 80 people is combing through the materials already posted on the website and flagging up documents deemed to pose a risk. Morrell said that foreign governments were being notified of dangerous material.

IN DEPTH
  Reports reveal Afghan war details
  Ex-spy chief denies Taliban links
  Losing the east in Afghanistan
  Excerpts: A less encouraging story
  Leaked Afghan war files condemned
  Video: Ability of Afghan forces questioned
  Ex-ISI chief denies aiding Taliban
  Focus: Why the world needs Wikileaks
  Afghan forces' flaws exposed

The analysts have already carried out about 400 initial 'word searches' of the leaked documents and are continuing to work around the clock to carry out a more detailed study of what exactly has found its way into the public domain.

The Pentagon has some idea of the material that Wikileaks is holding back and is working to pre-empt the possible release of the documents, Morrell said.

Morrell refused to comment on potential legal action against Wikileaks, saying it was a matter for the FBI and US justice department to decide how to proceed.

But he said that the website was responsible for "brazen solicitation to US government officials, including our military, to break the law."

"WikiLeaks' assertion that submitting confidential material to WikiLeaks is safe, easy and protected by law is materially false and misleading'' he said.

The US investigation into the leaks is focused on Bradley Manning, an army intelligence analyst in Iraq who has already been charged with leaking a classified video showing a 2007 helicopter attack that left 12 people, including two Reuters journalists, dead in Baghdad.  

Meanwhile, Wikileaks has posted a huge encrypted file named "Insurance" to its website, sparking speculation that the organisation may be threatening to publish more classified information if its staff are detained or the website is attacked.  

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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