ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, July 27, 2010 — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he is “appalled” by the breach of security represented by the Wikileaks case.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters traveling with him that the leaks could put American servicemembers at risk. Investigators are still sifting through some 90,000 classified documents to determine the exact harm that the release could bring, he said.
The chairman said the information is older – from 2004 to 2009 – and this may mitigate the situation to an extent. Many of the documents are field reports covering the situation in Pakistan.
“From the time I’ve been chairman I’ve been very clear about the need to improve the relationship with Pakistan, re-establish the trust that was broken in the 1990s,” he said. “In the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, none of us have been anything but very forthcoming on the criticality of Pakistan. We can’t get at the safe havens that we know exist in Pakistan without their cooperation.”
The chairman is very concerned about the release of these documents. “Releasing classified documents could put in jeopardy American lives,” he said.
“We’re going through a review to see in fact if that release has done that. But in my experience with troops from conventional to special forces, I think sometimes people don’t appreciate what information could be out there that makes their jobs a lot more difficult and in fact, could jeopardize their lives.”
“I feel very strongly to do all we can to make sure leaks like this don’t occur in the future,” he continued.
Mullen spoke to the reporters aboard an Air Force C‑17 transport following meeting in Kabul, Bagram and Kandahar, Afghanistan. Previously the chairman had visited Islamabad, Pakistan; New Delhi, India and Seoul, South Korea.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)