Wikileaks has sparked major controversy over its release of more than 75,000 U.S. Army and Marine Corps documents which chronicles events spanning six years in Afghanistan. The non-profit website, whose mission is to pursue transparency and accountability with the U.S. government and corporate misconduct, angered officials in Washington, Britain and Pakistan on Sunday. The papers, dating between 2004 and January 2010, document attacks on U.S. troops and their response, number of casualties, notes and threat reports from meetings between Afghan leaders and U.S. Commanders, and concerns about neighboring Pakistan and their ties to the Taliban.
Despite the outrage, President Obama has publicly stated that the “documents don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate on Afghanistan.” Obama suggested that the war strategy he revealed in December of last year was designed to take into account the concerns laid out in the recently leaked reports. Any issues that were of concern in the documents can be reflected through Obama’s decision to increase troop levels and to renew the counterinsurgency.
The ever-growing website has been posting thousands of documents on the Internet since 2007. The overworked small operation with about 800 part-time workers has raised a million dollars from the general public, and not from advertisers or foundations. Founder Julian Assange feels Wikileaks has a “sort of fierce independence that larger organizations find more difficult” because of their exclusive and direct support from the public.
The growth of the website has sparked major debate on whether the website has been acting in the public good or whether it could potentially endanger the public. Despite the lack of threat the recent leak has caused, former intelligence analyst Bob Ayers is convinced that the website “has the potential to be a threat to combatants that are fighting in the area, it has the potential to destabilize the trilateral relationships between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the U.S. And it has the potential to place the intelligence community at some level of risk if their sources are being compromised publicly.”