USA — Chairman Appalled by Wikileaks Release

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)

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