WikiLeaks' latest release is classified military documents that detail information obtained from Guantanamo detainees. What do they reveal about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda?
CNN's national security analyst Peter Bergen, author of "The Longest War," weighs in on what the WikiLeaks documents reveal about bin Laden that the world didn't know a few days ago. Here's an edited transcript:
I think we have a little bit better sense of where he was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
I think overall, these WikiLeaks documents about Guantanamo remind me a little bit of the WikiLeaks documents we had about Afghanistan and Pakistan from the U.S. military. They don't really add anything seismic to our general understanding of what happened. They're filling in details. They will be very interesting for future historians.
These are not top-secret documents. They're secret. So they're not the crown jewels. The fact that bin Laden was hard up for cash I think is pretty interesting, but that sort of accords with something we already knew, that bin Laden didn't have millions of dollars when he was in Afghanistan. Even though he's the son of a billionaire, money was tight during this time period.
It's interesting now we have confirmation that the operational commander of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was watching these events unfold live on TV in Karachi, Pakistan. But again I think that's something, if we didn't know for a fact, we certainly probably thought was true already.
Hundreds of U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks paint a picture of corruption in Afghanistan at every level of government and society.
Cables from the U.S. ambassador in Kabul portray Afghan President Hamid Karzai as paranoid, with an "inability to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state-building." FULL POST
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari have agreed not to let recent WikiLeaks revelations "cast a shadow on the strategic partnership" between their countries, a spokesman for the president said.
The two officials spoke over the telephone about bilateral matters with
reference to the recent leaks of U.S. diplomatic cables, the spokesman said. WikiLeaks is a website known for leaking official secrets.
CNN speaks to Pakistan's ambassador to Britain about the latest WikiLeaks release.
On the record, Pakistan has persistently criticized the United States' use of unmanned drones to attack militant hideouts in its mountainous border region.
But diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that in private the Pakistani government was not unhappy about the strikes, and secretly allowed small groups of U.S. special operation units to operate on its soil.
In a cable sent in August 2008, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan at the time, Anne W. Patterson, recounted a meeting with Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. It coincided with a military operation in one of the restive frontier territories.
Patterson wrote: "Malik suggested we hold off alleged Predator attacks until after the Bajaur operation. The PM brushed aside Rehman's remarks and said, 'I don't care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We'll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.'"
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The early and pre-trial release of prisoners by the Afghan government, at times with the intervention of the country's president, has frustrated U.S. officials, diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks reveal.
In one case, Afghan President Hamid Karzai used his authority to pardon
five border police officers who were caught with 124 kilograms of heroin in
their police vehicle, according to an August 2009 State Department cable
published by WikiLeaks.
The policemen, known as the Zahir Five, were tried and convicted at the
Central Narcotics Tribunal, and sentenced to serve prison terms of 16 to 18
years each. But Karzai pardoned them, "on the grounds that they were distantly related to two individuals who had been martyred during the civil war."
As the United States negotiated with countries around the world to find new homes for the remaining detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Kuwait's minister of interior had a solution for the four Kuwaiti citizens left in the prison.
"You picked them up in Afghanistan; you should drop them off in Afghanistan," Shaikh Jaber Al-Khalid Al-Sabah is quoted as saying, "in the middle of the war zone," where the detainees could be killed in combat.
The 2009 cable titled "The Interior Minister's remedy for terrorists: Let them die," is among the diplomatic documents posted online by WikiLeaks.
Two of the cables released by the WikiLeaks website this week paint an unflattering and somewhat unexpected portrait of Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
In a meeting with a senior U.S. diplomat last February, Ahmed Wali Karzai, who is the Kandahar provincial council chief, made the case that he, not the governor of Kandahar, was "the most powerful official in Kandahar and could deliver whatever is needed," according to a cable about the meeting leaked Sunday by WikiLeaks. His comments came just as the U.S. was about to focus its military efforts on Kandahar. FULL POST
The founder of WikiLeaks says the whistle-blower website is preparing to release another roughly 15,000 documents about the war in Afghanistan.
"We are about halfway through them," Julian Assange told reporters in London, England, on Thursday. "This is a very expensive process."
Right now, Bradley Manning is alone.
The 22-year-old U.S. Army private, suspected of involvement in the largest-ever intelligence leak in American history, is in solitary confinement at Quantico, the Marine Corps base in Virginia. He's facing eight counts of violating U.S. Criminal Code for allegedly leaking a secret military video from the Iraq war that made its way to WikiLeaks.org.
If convicted, he could go to prison until he's a very old man.
People who say they know Manning describe him as naturally adept at computers, smart and opinionated, even brash. Friends and acquaintances paint a picture of a person who, from a young age, couldn't help but get involved when he perceived an injustice. It was a tendency that sometimes sparked confrontation with authority figures and those who disagreed with him, they say.