War Logs

2010-11-29 Debunked: "WikiLeaks Did Not Redact The Afghanistan War Logs"

The Falsehood:

During its Afghanistan War Log Releases, WikiLeaks carelessly/wantonly/maliciously failed to redact the names of soldiers/informants, or hold back more sensitive information that might endanger lives.

The Explanation:

The allegation has circulated that WikiLeaks would not consider any restraints in the release of its Afghanistan War Log releases, and its Iraq War Log releases. It is now considered common knowledge that WL released both sets of War Logs without any provisions for protecting sensitive identities within them. This is simply not true.

The Source:

This falsehood was developed opportunistically by the Pentagon, and by media organizations friendly to official Washington. The falsehood was afterwards propagated by careless repetition by other news sources, and was passed on by netizens in internet communities and on comment streams, with little regard for its veracity.

The Truth:

The claim is false. WikiLeaks has clearly conducted harm minimization on all of its War Log releases. These harm minimization measures included:

  1. Inviting the Pentagon to help WikiLeaks/Sunshine Press and partner news organizations to redact the documents in their possession prior to release. The Pentagon has refused unilaterally in all cases.
  2. Using metadata to identify documents in the Afghanistan launch as sensitive.
  3. Withholding 15,000 of the some 90,000 documents pertaining to Afghanistan for a full redaction and review.
  4. A comprehensive redaction process for the Iraq War Logs release, working back from full redaction to disclosure of information of interest to the historical record, leaving the names of sensitive sources concealed.

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