Washington The White House condemned the public release of what appear to be some 90,000 U.S. military records Sunday, as a handful of international media organizations given early access to the documents began to disclose their account of the war in Afghanistan.
In a written release, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser deplored the “disclosure of classified information” that he said could put the lives of Americans and U.S. partners at risk and threaten national security.
The website Wikileaks made no effort to contact the U.S. government about the documents, said Gen. James Jones, who said the administration learned from news organizations that the documents would be posted.
The website provided the documents ahead of time to The New York Times, the Guardian of London and the German magazine Der Spiegel, and journalists from those organizations went to the White House for comment. The Tribune Washington Bureau has not thoroughly reviewed the documents nor verified their authenticity.
According to The New York Times, the documents refer to previously unreported incidents of Afghan civilian deaths in the NATO military operations in Afghanistan.
The documents also appear to include classified cables and other communications among military leaders, and describe in detail long-reported U.S. fears that some intelligence officials in Pakistan were actually helping the Taliban in Afghanistan, even as the U.S. poured foreign aid into both countries.
Of particular note is that the documents reportedly say the Taliban has acquired surface-to-air missiles. If true, it could help explain recent crashes of NATO and U.S. helicopters in Afghanistan — which could have a significant effect on ground operations.