USA — Document Leaks Could Endanger Afghan Civilians

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2010 — The clas­si­fied mil­i­tary doc­u­ments released by the group could not only threat­en the lives of U.S. troops, but the Afghan civil­ians with whom they work, a top U.S. mil­i­tary com­man­der in Afghanistan said today.

Army Maj. Gen. John F. Camp­bell, com­man­der of U.S. and inter­na­tion­al forces in Region­al Com­mand-East and Com­bined Joint Task Force 101 as well as the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion, addressed the issue dur­ing a video news con­fer­ence with Pen­ta­gon reporters from his Afghanistan head­quar­ters.

Though Camp­bell said he him­self has­n’t stud­ied the con­tents of the doc­u­ments, he said the leak of clas­si­fied mate­r­i­al could put lives at risk.

“Any­time there’s any sort of leak of clas­si­fied mate­r­i­al, it has the poten­tial to harm the mil­i­tary folks that are work­ing out here every day to pre­serve that,” Camp­bell said. The doc­u­ments, report­ed­ly giv­en to sev­er­al U.S. and inter­na­tion­al media weeks ago, are said to detail field reports from Afghanistan, as well as alleged Pak­istani part­ner­ship with the Tal­iban. The more than 70,000 doc­u­ments cov­er the peri­od from Jan­u­ary 2004 through Decem­ber 2009, accord­ing to Pen­ta­gon offi­cials.

Pen­ta­gon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan said today that U.S. troops in Afghanistan are hear­ing dis­con­tent from Afghan part­ners, whose names were revealed in the doc­u­ments leak. Some Afghan nation­als work with coali­tion forces to pro­vide infor­ma­tion and where­abouts of mil­i­tants and insur­gent activ­i­ties.

“There’s been dis­plea­sure from folks whose names appeared there,” Lapan said. “Any­one whose name appears in those doc­u­ments is at risk. It could be a threat to their lives, or to their future con­duct” in sup­port of coali­tion forces.

The Pen­ta­gon has launched an inves­ti­ga­tion to deter­mine the leak’s source. The Army’s Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion Divi­sion is the lead orga­ni­za­tion.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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