WikiLeaks' Latest Document Dump Is Largest Intel Leak in US History -- Daniel Ellsberg: I've Waited 40 Years for This
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The whistleblowing group WikiLeaks has released up to 400,000 US intelligence reports on the Iraq War. The disclosure is the biggest leak in US history, far more than the 91,000 Afghanistan war logs WikiLeaks released this summer. Democracy Now! spoke to the nation’s most famous whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971, just before he headed to London to participate in the WikiLeak press conference.
DEMOCRACY NOW! CO-HOSTJUAN GONZALEZ: The US government is racing to prepare for the fallout. A team of more than a hundred analysts from the Defense Intelligence Agency have been combing through classified Iraq documents they think will be released.
AMY GOODMAN: WikiLeaks sparked condemnation from the US government when it released the 91,000 Afghan war logs in July. The White House and the Pentagon accused the website of irresponsibility. They claimed they were putting people’s lives in danger. But the Associated Press recently obtained a Pentagon letter reporting that no US intelligence sources or practices were compromised by the leak.
Nevertheless, WikiLeaks says it’s been targeted by the US government. In the aftermath of the Afghan war logs leak, the US reportedly asked Britain, Germany, Australia and other Western governments to open criminal investigations into Julian Assange and severely restrict his international travel. Most recently, WikiLeaks accused the US of targeting it with financial warfare. Last week, Julian Assange said the company responsible for collecting the WikiLeaks’ donations terminated its account after the US and Australia placed the group on blacklists. Meanwhile, Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning has been in prison since May, when he was arrested on charges of leaking a video of a US military helicopter killing a group of innocent Iraqis in Baghdad.
For more, we’re joined here in our New York studio by Daniel Ellsberg, perhaps the country’s most famous whistleblower. He leaked the secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971. He’s flying to London tonight. He’ll take part in the WikiLeaks news conference on Saturday.
Dan Ellsberg, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you talk about this 400,000 pages or documents that are expected to be released?
DANIEL ELLSBERG: Four hundred thousand documents, allegedly. It is, of course, a leak on a scale that I couldn’t have done forty years ago without scanners and digital capability. I used the most advanced technology at that time, Xerox, and I couldn’t have done what I did ten years before that.
AMY GOODMAN: You xeroxed 7,000 pages?
DANIEL ELLSBERG: Yes. It took a long time, one page at a time. So I’m quite jealous of the current capabilities. But I’m glad to express my support of what WikiLeaks is doing and its sources, in particular. Whoever gave this information to WikiLeaks obviously understood that they were at risk of being where Bradley Manning is now: accused, in prison. We don’t know—I don’t know who the source was. And if Bradley Manning is shown by Army, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have been the source, he’ll have my admiration and thanks for doing that. I’ve faced that kind of risk myself forty years ago, and it always seemed worthwhile to me to be willing to risk one’s life in prison, even, to help shorten a war, like Afghanistan or Iraq. That’s what we were suffering then in Vietnam. And it was really a secrecy—it’s the secrecy, the wrongful secrecy, of information like this that got us into Vietnam and Afghanistan and Iraq, or has kept the war going in Afghanistan. So if there’s any chance of shortening that, it’s certainly worth a person’s life.