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U.S. soldiers conduct a patrol in Afghanistan U.S. soldiers conduct a patrol in Afghanistan on June 16, 2010 (Photo: UPI/William Tremblay/U.S. Army/NewsCom)

U.S. Military Secrets Leaked

Details in Internet postings cause concern

July 27 , 2010

After Wikileaks posted thousands of military secrets online, United States officials are worried that the information could be used to hurt the Afghan war effort. Although some of the information already had been reported over the past several years, the online posting provides additional details about the war in Afghanistan that date from 2004 to the end of 2009.

Those new details in the once-secret documents are what concern intelligence officials the most. Experts say that the release of this information could endanger those who have worked with American officials to expose the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Some of these U.S. supporters have been people who live in Afghan villages as well as Afghan militants who have become double agents. Colonel Dave Lapan, a Defense Department spokesman, said the military would need to review all the documents to understand "the potential damage to the lives of our service members and coalition partners." Additionally, U.S. allies fear that they might not be able to trust the U.S. to keep sensitive national information secret in the future.

Wikileaks is a Web site that posts anonymous leaks of secret documents. They do this because they think it will protect others if they share secret information that, in their opinion, is covering up the truth. People or groups who do this are often called "whistleblowers." In the past, whistleblowers had to use other, slower ways to share information with the public. They had to wait until a newspaper or book publisher would agree to publish the information. Now, with the Internet, secret information can reach a much bigger audience much faster.

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