The top U.S. military officer said Thursday that Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, was risking lives to make a political point by publishing thousands of military reports from Afghanistan.
"Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a news conference at the Pentagon.
In equally stern comments and at the same session, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the massive leak will have significant impact on troops and allies, giving away techniques and procedures.
"The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world," Gates said. "Intelligence sources and methods, as well as military tactics, techniques and procedures will become known to our adversaries."