While the world has begun picking through the 90,000 classified reports on U.S. military activity in Afghanistan obtained and released by freedom-of-information Web site Wikileaks, Declassified has learned that tens of thousands of additional U.S. government documents—including military reports relating to the Iraq War and State Department diplomatic cables—may surface in forthcoming document dumps.
Two sources familiar with material currently in the hands of Wikileaks, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said on Monday that the next subject to be featured in media revelations based on documents leaked to Wikileaks was likely to be U.S. conduct of the Iraq War. The sources indicated the type of material likely to be the basis of anticipated forthcoming exposes would be similar to the military reports—many of them from U.S. military units operating in the field—which began to surface on Monday in reports published by The New York Times, The Guardian newspaper of London and the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel regarding U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and related dealings with authorities in Pakistan.
Due to the sensitivity of the material, the sources declined to discuss any of the still-to-be-revealed documents about Iraq in detail. However, one of the sources characterised the material as describing the involvement of U.S. forces in a "bloodbath."
One of the sources also noted that Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army private under arrest and charged with disclosing to unauthorized persons a U.S. military video that later was believed to have been made public by Wikileaks, also faces charges of illegally downloading more than 150,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. The official charges do not accuse Manning of actually passing on this material to anyone. However, Declassified's source indicated that this classified State Department material may also soon surface in media reports courtesy of Wikileaks.
This source said that the 90,000-plus documents so far mentioned in stories based on the Wikileaks material in The New York Times, Guardian, and Der Spiegel only relate to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of other similar documents apparently are already in the hands of Wikileaks relating to U.S. operations in Iraq, the source indicated, as well as the 150,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.
The sources said they could not predict when additional news stories based on Iraq and State Department documents obtained by Wikileaks would first appear. But they suggested that the timing of future revelations may relate to the fact that one of the news organizations involved in the initial round of revelations, Der Spiegel, is a magazine that publishes only one main edition weekly (though Spiegel does have a Web site). The New York Times publishes seven days a week, and The Guardian publishes Monday through Saturday, though the London newspaper also owns a Sunday broadsheet, The Observer.
One of the sources familiar with the Wikileaks material said that nothing in the cache seen so far was classified higher than "Secret/Noforn"—the latter term meaning that the documents were not intended to be shared with any foreign government. In U.S. government terms, material classified "Secret" is of relatively moderate sensitivity. The U.S. government's most sensitive military and intelligence secrets—including the so-called Pentagon Papers, which were leaked in the 1970s to The New York Times—are classified "Top Secret", and within that general category, access to ultrasensitive material is restricted more greatly through the use of "Special Access Programs" and exotic codewords like "Talent/Keyhole" (relating to picture-taking spy satellites) and "Umbra" (related to electronic eavesdropping).
In a statement posted on the White House Web site Sunday, retired general Jim Jones, President Obama's national-security adviser, condemned the Wikileaks revelations on Afghanistan and Pakistan and said that they would not affect the U.S. commitment to the region. The statement made no mention of possible future Wikileaks-related revelations regarding Iraq or U.S. diplomatic activities.