Defense Dept. Wants the Wikileaks Docs Back
On Thursday, the U.S. Defense Department demanded that Wikileaks return all military documents in his possession, claiming they are “owned by the U.S. government.”
Defense Department Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, said the military “Wikileaks calls return immediately to the U.S. government all versions of the documents obtained, directly or indirectly from the Department of Defense database or records” and permanently delete them.
Morrell also said the Web site Wikileaks.org “is a blatant invitation to officials of U.S. government, including our military, to violate the law” by stating that the leak of confidential or classified information is illegal.
Wikileaks.org have a website that “the filing of confidential material is safe, easy, and protected by law.” However, these protections seem to come from other countries like Sweden, where the major sites are servers.
In a message on Twitter, Wikileaks representative of the Pentagon called the “unpleasant” and the application of a “threat” but did not respond otherwise. A moment later, the group sent another note, saying: “Now is a good time to send Wikileaks all your money!”
Early last week, the trade group of papers written about 100 megabytes of confidential dispatches U.S. troops in Afghanistan, which seems to have caused more Americans to see the war as a mistake. This led to an unusually warm protest in political circles, with the White House condemned the leak, a Republican congressman suggesting that whoever gave the documents to Wikileaks be executed for treason, and conservative commentators arguing that Wikileaks.org should be closed by any means necessary.
But the problem with Wikileaks censorship is the difficulty of convincing an Internet service provider in Sweden, the Swedish government, for that matter-that the material that irritates the Pentagon is necessarily also illegal under Swedish law. And even if Wikileaks.org is disconnected, the group has always planned to mirror sites in other nations.
Morrell would not say how the U.S. military respond, if Wikileaks ignores your request. “What we intend to bind,” he asked. “Right now, we’re making a demand for them … If you are required to make them do anything, then let’s find out what alternatives we have to force them to do the right thing.”
The Defense Department also emphasized that Wikileaks has not asked for help in the review of 15,000 files from the war in Afghanistan has so far withheld from public disclosure until the group can review and write them. “Wikileaks has no direct application to the Department of Defense,” Morrell said.
Update 9 pm PST Thursday: A few minutes ago, replied Wikileaks: “. We are reviewing the Pentagon’s request and issue a statement in due course”
Earlier in the day, during a State Department conference, PJ Crowley, secretary of state for public affairs, suggested the possibility of international cooperation against Wikileaks.
“We are obviously not the only government that Wikileaks concerned,” said Crowley. “I can not cite any particular conversation we had with other governments, but we think collectively, you know, have the same interest in protecting classified information ..”
Daniel Benjamin, the State Department coordinator for counter-terrorism, in a separate event, sought to downplay the impact and importance of archives from the war in Afghanistan.
“The Wikileaks document ran only until December 2009,” said Benjamin. “The president was, you know, unfurled a new policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the time. We believe that the strategic dialogue with the new policy in Afghanistan, we are building a better relationship, a more complete, and that is bringing our countries to address common threats we face. “