July 26, 2010 -- In one of the biggest leaks in U.S. military history, the controversial website Wikileaks has obtained a massive cache of more than 90,000 documents with six years' worth of classified details on the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
The documents reveal troubling information about the war, including hundreds of previously unreported civilian deaths, figures on the growth of Taliban attacks, and information suggesting that elements in the Pakistani government, including the ISI spy agency, could be fueling the insurgency. It amounts to a disturbing picture of a war going more poorly than many ever imagined.
In a statement, The White House stressed that the documents did not cover changes that have happened in Afghanistan since 2009, and it condemned the leak, saying that it "puts the lives of the U.S. and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact the U.S. government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans, our partners, and local populations who cooperate with us."
An Army Specialist, Brad Manning, was arrested in Baghdad in May, in apparent connection to the leak.
The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, defended the release of the documents, telling the British newspaper The Guardian, "It will show the true nature of this war, and then the public from Afghanistan and other nations can see what is really going on and can take steps to address the problems."
Our question to you today: Is the Leak of Classified Afghan War Documents Reprehensible or Needed Transparency?