Despite the statement of national security adviser James Jones condemning the release of more than 92,000 classified documents as endangering national security, Michael Isikoff reports that a review by the Pentagon finds, so far, that's not the case.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An ongoing Pentagon review of the massive flood of secret documents made public by the WikiLeaks website has so far found no evidence that the disclosure harmed U.S. national security or endangered American troops in the field, a Pentagon official told NBC News on Monday.
The initial Pentagon assessment is far less dramatic than initial statements from the Obama White House Sunday night after three major news organizations – The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel — published what was touted as an unprecedented “secret archive” of classified military documents relating to the war in Afghanistan. The documents appear to show, among other matters, close collaboration between elements of the Pakistani intelligence service and the Taliban — an awkward issue that U.S. intelligence officials have strenuously complained about for some time but are loath to talk about publicly....
But David Lapan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations, told NBC News on Monday that a preliminary review by a Pentagon “assessment” team has so far not identified any documents whose release could damage national security. Moreover, he said, none of the documents reviewed so far carries a classification level above “secret” — the lowest category of intelligence material in terms of sensitivity.
That should be further impetus for changing the conversation from the issue of the leak and the leakers and turn the focus to what the nation has learned from the leak, including, to list just a few elements:
• How a secret "black" unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.
• How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.
• How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.
• How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.
The conversation needs to happen as this war drags on and as Congress this week will consider another war supplemental. That supplemental has been largely viewed as the last chance to get some critical jobs funding passed, but the Senate stripped out all the funding to retain teachers, to extend Pell Grants to low-income students, to provide $1 billion for summer jobs (already almost too late for that one) and even for additional border security--all stimulative programs.
The Senate decided on behalf of the American people that guns matter over teachers, since apparently we can't have both. Perhaps this WikiLeaks document release will change that calculation.
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