Wikileaks presents a “threat to the U.S. Army” and publishes “potentially actionable information” for targeting military personnel, according to a classified intelligence report posted Monday on the whistleblowing site.
The 32-page report entitled Wikileaks.org – An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups? (.pdf) indicates the government’s concern that “current employees or moles” within the Defense Department or the U.S. government “are providing sensitive or classified information to Wikileaks.” To stop this, the 2008 report had suggested a campaign to expose and punish those who leak to the site, which was founded in 2007 by Chinese dissidents, journalists and mathematicians.
“Wikileaks.org uses trust as a center of gravity by assuring insiders, leakers, and whistleblowers who pass information to Wikileaks.org personnel or who post information to the website that they will remain anonymous,” according to the report. “The identification, exposure, or termination of employment of or legal actions against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others from using Wikileaks.org to make such information public.”
The document is classified Secret, and was produced by the Army Counterintelligence Center, under the Department of Defense Intelligence Analysis Program. It appears to underscore the military’s alarm that Wikileaks might be used to reveal United States military secrets, or broadcast disinformation harmful to the U.S.
Neither Wikileaks editor Julian Assange nor the Defense Department immediately responded for comment.
The report, which could not be independently verified, said Wikileaks “could be of value to foreign intelligence and security services (FISS), foreign military forces, foreign insurgents, and foreign terrorist groups for collecting information or for planning attacks against U.S. forces, both within the United State and abroad.”
The report added that the site “could be used to post fabricated information; to post misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda; or to conduct perception management and influence operations designed to convey a negative message to those who view or retrieve information from the website.”
Run by Sunshine Press, Wikileaks has received awards from Amnesty International and has been praised by media groups and others for giving whistleblowers and political dissidents a forum to expose corruption and foster transparency.
Notable leaks include the 238-page U.S. military manual detailing operations of the Defense Department’s Guantánamo Bay detention facility, and a Central Intelligence Agency manual for operating the CIA’s rendition flights, which involved undocumented detainees who were kidnapped in various locations and flown to countries outside the United States for interrogation and torture.