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The Guardian 's coverage
Wikileaks, the online government-secrets site whose document cache includes a 1,500-page outline of the public-private operations of the clandestine Washington Fusion

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WikiWar: Web Site Unloads U.S. Secrets to Make Afghanistan Policy More Transparent

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The Guardian's coverage
Wikileaks, the online government-secrets site whose document cache includes a 1,500-page outline of the public-private operations of the clandestine Washington Fusion Center in downtown Seattle, has scored its biggest leak yet with a Pentagon Papers-like archives of the war in Afghanistan. The web site, where unnamed sources reveal military and political secrets thought to be wrongly kept from Americans, worked with the New York Times and other publications in an attempt to reveal how we've been able to spend $300 billion and lose 1,150 troops in the U.S.'s longest war only to make the Taliban stronger than ever.

"We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies," WikiLeaks says in a statement. "All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information." Others disagree with release of the 92,000 secret war reports, including ex-hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned in Bradley Manning, the soldier suspected of handing over an infamous Iraq-killing video to WikiLeaks (and who may be the Afghan Papers leaker).

"Wikileaks has acted in a tremendously irresponsible fashion," Lamo said on ABC this morning. The site "took advantage of systems that were put into place for the purpose of intelligence sharing, for the purpose of making sure that all elements of national security both at home and abroad had access to the information they needed in order to do their job."

Among the Afghan Papers revelations:

• The Taliban have used portable, heat-seeking missiles against allied aircraft, a fact not publicly disclosed by the military. This type of weapon helped the Afghan mujahedeen defeat the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

• Secret commando units such as Task Force 373 -- a classified group of Army and Navy special operatives -- work from a "capture/kill list" of about 70 top insurgent commanders. These missions, stepped up under the Obama administration, claim notable successes but have sometimes gone wrong, killing civilians and stoking Afghan resentment.

• The military employs more and more drone aircraft to survey the battlefield and strike targets in Afghanistan, although their performance is less impressive than officially portrayed. Some crash or collide, forcing U.S. troops to undertake risky retrieval missions before the Taliban can claim the drone's weaponry.

For its recent cover story about government spying on military protesters in Western Washington, Seattle Weekly relied on several WikiLeaks documents including the fusion center backgrounder and a copy of an Army manual showing how Fort Lewis officials skirt federal law to gather intelligence on anti-war demonstrators.

 
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