Amid such criticism, WikiLeaks said this time it "undertook the arduous task of redacting any piece of information contained that might lead to the identification of any innocent Iraqi."
The Pentagon said the documents it expected would be released include tactical reports from late 2003 to 2010 containing brief unit-level observations of what those units saw on a daily basis.
Those documents included descriptions of attacks on Iraqi security forces and U.S. forces, detainee abuse, civilian casualty incidents, IED blasts, discussions with Iraqis and inquiries into socio-political relations, according to Department of Defense spokesman Col. David Lapan.
Sources that saw the WikiLeaks documents in advance reported no major revelations, but said taken together they could be read as a secret history of the war written from a troop's-eye-view of the conflict.
WikiLeaks collectively referred to the trove as "The Iraq War Logs" and seemed to suggest they did contain revelations.
"There are reports of civilians being indiscriminately killed at checkpoints, such as speeding to get a pregnant woman to hospital; of Iraqi detainees being tortured by coalition forces; and of U.S. soldiers blowing up entire civilian buildings because of one suspected insurgent on the roof," WikiLeaks said in its statement.
"There are over 300 recorded reports of coalition forces committing torture and abuse of detainees across 284 reports and over 1,000 cases of Iraqi security forces committing similar crimes," WikiLeaks added. "There are numerous cases of what appear to be clear war crimes by U.S. forces, such as the deliberate killing of persons trying to surrender."
On ABC's "Good Morning America" this morning, Morrell was asked about the reported detainee abuse from Iraqi forces -- including beatings with rods and torture with boiling water and acid -- and the U.S. Strategy for handing over control to Iraq.
"Let me remind you of the scope of these documents," Morrell said. "It covers a period dating from 2004 to 2010. Obviously we've seen much improvement over that span in terms of the capabilities of the Iraqi army as well as the Iraqi police department."
"Our policy has always been when we witness or find evidence of abuse we are to report it up the chain of command, we're not going to have a guy at the ground level, who's out in the field, conduct an investigation on the site or intervene with their intermediaries in the Iraqi army."
The documents also included evidence of state-sanctioned torture by the Iraqi government, new evidence of Iraqi government death squads, and Iran's involvement in funneling arms to Shiite militias, according to the international news outlets that reviewed them before their release.
ABC News did not begin to review the nearly 400,000 documents firsthand until after their release.
As the details on the documents emerged, the main WikiLeaks site was down for "scheduled maintenance," but the 400,000 documents later could be searched by categories on a specially created Wikileaks page.
WikiLeaks' release comes at a critical time, as U.S. troops begin a staged withdrawal from Iraq. All 50,000 remaining U.S. troops in the country are expected to leave by the end of next year.