Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bradley Manning: WikiLeaker, Part 2

The War Logs


The "War Logs" were released a few months after "Collateral Murder," and this time the media were not only on alert but they were in on the release. By now, Assange had approached larger American and European papers to dig through the material. Struggling to give the sometimes indecipherable documents context, The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El Pais published some of the 70,000 documents.

Geoff Morrell
Geoff Morrell

Afghanistan's logs revealed, among other things, that the Pakistani government and the Taliban were on friendlier terms than previously thought, particularly troubling for American interests. It was like the U.S. was funding a war against itself.

A few months later, in October, the Iraq Logs were released. Their cache was more volatile and far larger. These detailed revelations that were disturbing to much of the non-military public. For instance, civilian casualties were estimated to be higher than had been publicly reported previously, and reports were unearthed that Iraqi prisoners had been tortured and beaten by the Iraqi guards in ways that violated international law.

As Manning predicted, this greatly angered the U.S. government. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell released a statement: "We know our enemies will mine this information, looking for insights into how we operate, cultivate sources and react in combat situations, even the capability of our equipment. This security breach could very well get our troops and those they are fighting with killed."

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