WASHINGTON, July 27, 2010 — President Barack Obama today issued his first comments on WikiLeaks’ release of Afghanistan war documents, saying he is concerned about the leaks, but that they don’t reveal any new issues.
“While I’m concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations,” Obama said, “the fact is that these documents don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate on Afghanistan. Indeed, they point to the same challenges that led me to conduct an extensive review last fall.”
The president made the comments from the White House Rose Garden after meeting with members of the House and Senate on a variety of issues, including Afghanistan war funding, job creation, and energy policy.
WikiLeaks, a whistleblower Web site, created controversy July 25 by posting more than 90,000 secret military reports from Afghanistan.
Obama said the period covered in the reports – from January 2004 to December 2009 – show shortcomings in U.S. policy in Afghanistan that led to his review last fall and his decision to increase U.S. troop strength there by 30,000.
“For seven years we failed to implement a strategy adequate to the challenge in this region,” Obama said today. “That’s why we substantially increased our commitment there, and insisted on” the cooperation of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama said he hoped the House would vote today to support funding for the war in Afghanistan, which the Senate approved unanimously last week.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)