July 28th, 2010
06:29 PM ET

Leaks pose security concern for Afghans working with U.S.

U.S. military officials are assessing what damage could be done to intelligence contacts in Afghanistan after a number of names of local Afghans working with the U.S. military appeared on documents leaked by the WikiLeaks website, according to a U.S. military official.

A CNN review of the documents found numerous situational reports from troops in the field who name local individuals who either come forth with information or work with the military on a regular basis. References to such documents in this article are in only general terms.The Pentagon has a team of military and civilian workers sorting through the tens of thousands of pages of documents on a 24-hour basis to see what fallout this may have for U.S. forces and those who worked with them, according to a U.S. military official who declined to be named because of the ongoing investigation.

The list of Afghan contacts has been one of the initial concerns in the leaked documents, the source said.

"These are people whose lives could be at stake," the official said.

"Anyone whose name appears in those documents is potentially at risk one way or another," said Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan. "It could compromise their position, their life; it could have an impact on their future conduct -
their willingness to continue or support those kinds of things."

"It is logical to think that the Taliban could go after the individuals who are named in these documents, because we know they already go after Afghans who they discover are working with the U.S. or coalition forces," according to
the official.

In an example of one of the leaked documents, a summary of a security meeting with residents in a district in eastern Afghanistan, a villager is named as somebody who had been willing to come forth and work with the local government and police to identify Taliban, the document said.

Another concern is over what the future holds for potential new contacts in the field because of the perception that the U.S. cannot protect sources.

"We are concerned about a chilling effect, if it is perceived the U.S. cannot protect the identification of people of information given what incentive do Afghans have if they think they cannot be protected if they help," the
official said.

"A lot of this work is built on trust with the Afghans, and they may now be reticent if they are not protected," according to the source.

Lapan said there has been at least one Afghan who has approached the military with concerns about his name being on the list.

"I am aware that there have been communications with our folks in Afghanistan of displeasure that names are out there," he said.

Lapan said he was not aware of any cases since the leak of Afghans who had been killed or were in danger but pointed out that the documents have been out for only a few days.

Another problem facing the military are names that appear in some of the leaked reports that identify insurgents or insurgent facilitators, which could alert those individuals that the military is now watching them and how it is
watching them.

In one example of a summary of a raid by coalition forces in March 2009, the name of a targeted insurgent is documented. The report goes on to detail other contacts the insurgent has and that he contacts a named al Qaeda figure via email.

"If insurgent names or the tactics of how the U.S. military operates in the field are shown in these documents, it could have the effect of causing additional damage to intelligence gathering," according to the official.

Many of the initial documents that have been reviewed have been assessed to be unit-level field reports that are at a "secret" classification level, according to Lapan. The "secret" designation is a relatively low-level one that
is widely accessible to military members.

He declined to discuss the reports CNN found because they remain classified as "secret."

The official also said the Pentagon is still assessing whether the leaking of these documents will put U.S. troops at risk with the possible backlash from angry Afghans who have worked with the U.S. military who feel that they have been exposed and their lives endangered.

The military is trying to determine whether there is any information in the documents could expose security measures around troops and facilities to offer insight to insurgents on more effectively attacking U.S. or coalition troops, the official said.

CNN's review of the document found a number of details about security procedures, but officials at the Pentagon would not comment on whether any of those documents are of concern.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the site has held back 15,000 documents because they contain sensitive data.

"We have withheld approximately 15,000 reports for a further minimization process, and we don't see anything here that is of tactical significance," Assange said on CNN's "Larry King Live" this week.

Lapan dismissed that judgment of the document's significance.

"I think we have been very clear publicly, these things present risk and that we don't believe Wikileaks is an organization that has the relevant skills to determine one way or another what harm could come," Lapan said. "Obviously, our number one preference is that they don't provide classified documents to the public. But lacking that, they at least consider the Department of Defense determine before they release them if there is any potential harm."

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. bailoutsos

    American agents gave info about Israeli spies to Lebanon, who in turn gave it to Hezbollah, who in turn have killed 2 or more Israeli spies. As The World Turns.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. nomoregobldgk

    and do you think you're learning from Islam stopped at the Mideval times?
    The UFO-Human Link...The Secret of Min suggests that they never took their finger off that trigger.

    July 31, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pete Larson

    I posted some preliminary statistical analysis of the Wikileaks Afghan Conflict data on my personal blog. Please take a look at it for more figures and maps from the data that you might not find elsewhere.



    July 29, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy Smith

      Thanks Pete! Very informative!

      July 31, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FatSean

    Ever seen "Red Dawn"? The USA is playing the Russians this time.

    July 29, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Patden

    When this sob's convicted, his name will join Benedict Arnolds as the worst traitor. His family must be so ashamed. As a mother I would hate to think one of my boys gave up America. No one will cry when he's executed except people who want to bring us down. How awful for us and them. Secrets? surely but why is America made to make everything public? Oh wait I forgot thats the way Obama rolls, he got these papers the same time the Times, Germany and London did.

    July 29, 2010 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Get off of it,Patden!Your right-wing ignorance is getting to be quite sickening!!!

      July 29, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Sev

      I am totally in agreement with Patden. I hope this soldier gets the maximum punishment possible. No matter what his motives, he has no right to put anyones life in danger. He signed to protect secrets given to him when he got his clearance. That promise/signature alone gives him 20 years.
      Courtesy post from someone who regrets her vote for Obama

      July 29, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
      • George Patton

        Sev,like I said before,you right-wing nutjobs are a disgrace to this country!

        July 29, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Take it easy,George.After all,everyone has a right to their opinion including Sev,although we hate this idiotic war.

        July 29, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • nomoregobldgk

      Our's is a government Of the People, By the People and For the People. If you don't like how it's acting then we just don't like ourselves very much.

      July 31, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Shannon

    As long as military secrecy is used more often to shield themselves from accountability rather than preserve a tactical advantage, organizations like Wikileaks will still have a job to do.

    When America can once again trust its military, then I'll be happy to see Wikileaks shut down.

    July 29, 2010 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom in Atlanta

      Military secrecy was violated, and so good people will die at the hands of murderous thugs. Yet somehow clowns like this have the audacity to claim the moral high ground. Their road to Hell is paved with their intentions.

      For those who don't value the lives to be lost: The motivation for working with the NATO forces? Pick one or more:

      To allow their daughters to get a real education
      To allow their sons to do the same
      To allow their wives to live with dignity
      To allow music to be played
      To allow dancing, movies, art and theater
      To allow a civil debate on contentious issues
      To return to the days when travel was safely possible
      To allow the nation to begin to actually function again

      Shannon, if you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a soldier. And if you can't bear the life that soldiers over 250 years bought with their blood for you, remember that migration in the free world is safe and legal.

      July 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • nomoregobldgk

        Don't play that Islamic Fascism card with me unless you know what you're talking about. Start here: apageinthelife.blogspot.com

        and know that your Mother lost family on both sides of the isle and her past present and future to bring that message to you.

        July 31, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Daniel-2

    Mike,you have far too much hate in you.Never has been any problem solved in the annals of mankind with anyone harboring hatred.Hate is but one thing;Bad!

    July 29, 2010 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. salerno

    The medieval culture is very valuable. We lerned a lot from the Islam at that time. There was also some problem becouse the individuals are not perfect and I think the Taliban do not understand the simbolism hidden under the letter of the Koran, but I have a lot of respect for them and do not think they are terrorist.

    July 29, 2010 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. David

    CIA should pick up the wikileak founder and give him to the Afghans. Let them see what he leaks.

    July 28, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      The world will be a better place after people like you are sent to your reward.

      July 29, 2010 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      You play, you pay.

      July 29, 2010 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel-2

      David,get over your right-wing mentality!!!

      July 29, 2010 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Patden

      You certainly got it right. Anyone here that doesn't like it? GET OUT IMMEDIATELY!

      July 29, 2010 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Kang Pen-Pin Koopa

      To all of u; GOD Is The Greatest. Allahu Akbar!!! The koran says " To take a life is like taking out the whole world. To save a life is as if u have save the whole world. (GOD knows all)

      September 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |


    July 28, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      The Real Bubba or no,I'd thank you not to call me an idiot.After all,I post in here in order to make a statement.

      July 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary Johndro

      Me too,Bubba!!!

      July 28, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gary Johndro

    Now I'm worried sick.

    July 28, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Not me!!!

      July 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |

        Me neither!!!

        July 28, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |

        America is already bankrupt Phunnie boy,in case you didn't know, thanks to the right-wing thugs in Washington!!!

        July 28, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |