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Pentagon tries to plug the Wikileak

Mark Mardell | 20:49 UK time, Friday, 22 October 2010

The Pentagon is trying stay aloof from allegations US soldiers were ordered to turn a blind eye to torture and instead is concentrating on condemning the leak.

Here is their statement:"We deplore Wikileaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies.

"We know terrorist organisations have been mining the leaked Afghan documents for information to use against us and this Iraq leak is more than four times as large.

"By disclosing such sensitive information, Wikileaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us.

"The only responsible course of action for Wikileaks at this point is to return the stolen material and expunge it from their websites as soon as possible."

The nearest they get to talking about the substance is to refer to "a snapshot of events, both tragic and mundane". They say the reports "do not bring a new understanding to Iraq's past".

It will be interesting to see if they can maintain this line, or whether further investigation into the allegations is inevitable.

But there have already been a series of leaks about Afghanistan. Are they right that lives have been put at risk?

Sources say that as far as they know no individual has been harmed yet, but they don't know the status of every individual associated with the documents.

They fear that locals could be put off working with the intelligence community because their identities are not secure, and I suppose at a stretch that could be seen as putting future lives at risk.

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