Reaction to WikiLeaks: no sources killed due to war log releases: trial report, day 24
Retired Brigadier General Robert Carr, the first witness in the sentencing phase of PFC Bradley Manning’s court martial at Ft. Meade, MD, testified that no individuals in Iraq or Afghanistan were killed as a result of WikiLeaks’ releasing the Afghan War Diary and Iraq War Logs.
Carr led the Information Review Task Force (IRTF), a coalition of Department of Defense, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Defense Intelligence Agency officials established just days after the release of the Afghan war files in late July 2010.
The IRTF spent 10 months reviewing WikiLeaks’ releases and seeking potential vulnerabilities to U.S. troops and local nationals. Defense Secretary Robert Gates directed the IRTF to:
- identify any sources, methods, or other intelligence activities that might be at risk
- protect troops on the battlefield, as well as Iraqis and Afghans who might be viewed as collaborators with U.S. forces and therefore at risk of attack
- identify any “insensitivities” to any religion
- identify potential for “fractures” between various countries or coalition forces
- recommend mitigation strategy
- provide advance warning on any additional releases subsequent to Afghan war log releases
Carr testified that he found about 900 names of such individuals in Afghanistan, and couldn’t recall how many from Iraq. He said that IRTF could identify no deaths as a result from WikiLeaks’ disclosures. He testified that the Taliban killed one person and later tied him to the releases, but he characterized this as a “terrorist” attack. The person was not actually named in any of WikiLeaks’ releases, so the Taliban was merely capitalizing on the opportunity to scare locals so they wouldn’t collaborate with U.S. troops. Military judge Col. Denise Lind made a point of clarifying that she would disregard testimony about this killing, as it had no connection to Manning’s releases.
Carr also testified that the war logs divulged Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs), though the defense established that America’s adversaries could identify much of this information by simply viewing incidents first hand in Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, Carr confirmed that TTPs change frequently, so TTPs from past events (which SigActs documented) weren’t necessarily used currently or would be in the future.
Discussing the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs), Carr suggested that the release of these documents was detrimental to the United States’ efforts to close the detention center, though he explained on cross-examination that the DABs could reveal that what the U.S. says publicly to some countries regarding transferring detainees back to their home countries and what we say to them privately could differ, obstructing that process. He testified, though, that he couldn’t speak to whether transferring the detainees was an administration priority.
John Kirchhofer testifying in a closed session
Kirchhofer was Deputy Chief of the IRFT, just below Carr, and he’s testifying largely in a classified session, closed off to the press and public. Tomorrow’s session, in open court, will begin at 10:oo AM.