Military Officials Investigate the Leak of Secret Afghan War Documents

By: CBS
By: CBS

The investigation into the leak of tens-of-thousands of secret Afghanistan war documents could stretch beyond the military.

Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, could soon find himself at the heart of a criminal investigation.

"The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Gates hasn't ruled out that Assange could be a target, after his website posted more than 70,000 secret military records.

In what appears to be an attempt to build a case against Assange, Gates has asked the director of the FBI to join the investigation.

The army is also trying to track down whoever downloaded the Afghanistan war documents. Officials are looking closely at Private Bradley Manning who's already been charged with leaking other material to Wikileaks.

The 22-year-old is being moved from a prison in Kuwait to the brig at Quantico, Va., while the investigation continues.

Terrell Brown reports, “Assange insists he and his source didn't put anyone at risk by releasing the documents, but top military officials say that's not the case.”

"The truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family," said Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Along with exposing military tactics, the documents reveal the names of Afghan informants. Their lives are now in danger, and officials worry that will prevent others from helping the U.S.

"This is one of the worst aspects of this,” said Gates. “Will people whose lives are on the line trust us to keep their identity secret?”

And it may not be over yet. Wikileaks still has another 15,000 documents waiting to be released.


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