GATES: It's -- it's an -- it's an interesting question, because had -- had he tried to do this or had whoever did this tried to do it at a -- a rear headquarters, overseas or in pretty much anywhere here in the U.S., we have controls in place that would have allowed us to detect it. But one of the changes that has happened as we have fought these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been an effort to put the -- put as much information and intelligence as far forward to the soldiers as we possibly can, so that at a forward operating base, they -- they know what the security risks are to them and they -- and they also have information to help them accomplish their mission.
So -- so we put an enormous amount of information out at a -- at the secret level and push it the furthest forward possible. And so it is this -- it -- it was much easier to do in theater and in Afghanistan or Iraq than it would have been at a rear headquarters or here in the U.S.
AMANPOUR: So do you now have to reassess that -- much less intelligence going to the forward bases?
GATES: I think we have to look at it, although I must say, my bias is that if one or a few members of the military did this, the notion that we would handicap our soldiers on the front lines by denying them information in an effort to try and prevent this from happening -- my bias is against that. I want those kids out there to have all the information they can have.
And so we're going to look at are there ways in which we can mitigate the risk, but without denying the forward soldiers the information.
AMANPOUR: How angry were you -- beyond the fact that classified information is out there -- the substance of it?
GATES: Well, I'm not sure anger is the right word. I just -- I think mortified, appalled. And -- and if -- if I'm angry, it is -- it is because I believe that this information puts those in Afghanistan who have helped us at risk. It puts our soldiers at risk because they can learn a lot -- our adversaries can learn a lot about our techniques, tactics and procedures from the body of these leaked documents. And so I think that's what puts our soldiers at risk.
And -- and then, as I say, our sources. And, you know, growing up in the intelligence business, protecting your sources is sacrosanct. And -- and there was no sense of responsibility or accountability associated with it.
AMANPOUR: You know, you talk about putting your sources at risk, a Taliban spokesman has told a British news organization that they are, indeed, going to go after any of those names that they find in this treasure trove of documents and they will, as they say, they know how to deal with people.
Are you worried?
I mean Admiral Mullen said that this leak basically has blood on its hands?
GATES: Well, I mean given the Taliban's statement, I think it -- it basically proves the point. And my attitude on this is that there are two -- two areas of culpability. One is legal culpability. And that's up to the Justice Department and others. That's not my arena. But there's also a moral culpability. And that's where I think the verdict is guilty on WikiLeaks. They have put this out without any regard whatsoever for the consequences.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you about a couple of things that came out. One is the possibility that the Taliban may have Stinger missiles.
Do they, do you think?
GATES: I don't think so.
AMANPOUR: At all?
GATES: I don't think so.