The Pentagon has a full task force ready to review the latest from Wikileaks, a document dump of up to 500,000 documents about the war in Iraq. The release could come as soon as today, though perhaps not until next week. Whatever the case, the media trajectory of the document release will probably follow the release of Afghan war docs in July: a day of prurient interest, with war defenders claiming that they are “no big deal”; followed by a full-court press from the military that the documents harmed national security, and a parroting of this in the media. I don’t know how something can be both unimportant and deeply injurious to American interests, but that was the move in July. Meanwhile, we now know that the previous leak did not reveal any sensitive intelligence or cause any undue harm on anyone in Afghanistan.
The online leak of thousands of secret military documents from the war in Afghanistan by the website WikiLeaks did not disclose any sensitive intelligence sources or methods, the Department of Defense concluded.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said there is still concern Afghans named in the published documents could be retaliated against by the Taliban, though a NATO official said there has been no indication that this has happened.
They have to keep the fire alive of potential retaliation, despite the lack of evidence of any effect. Gates continued that the document release still carried “significant harm or damage to national security interests of the United States.”
As Glenn said, this really is a classic example of propaganda distribution. You make unverified claims about harms to national security, allow that to run wild in the media bloodstream (I’ve even seen some conservatives call for the assassination of Julian Assange for aiding and abetting the enemy), and then quietly reveal the truth months later, at which point it doesn’t matter because everyone else has been convinced that Wikileaks=EEvuhl.
It’s a neat trick. The only plausible follow-up, since these new documents concern that war in Iraq which is over and we won and don’t think about those 50,000 troops still fighting over there, is to ignore the documents entirely.