In its daily briefing for reporters today, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell demanded that WikiLeaks return over 15,000 documents that the site has not yet published. He also denied reports that WikiLeaks had asked Department of Defense officials for assistance in going through the as yet unpublished documents.
"The Defense Department demands that Wikileaks return immediately to the US government all versions of documents obtained directly or indirectly from the Department of Defense databases or records...The only acceptable course is for Wikileaks to take steps immediately to return all versions of all of these documents to the US government and permanently delete them from its website, computers and records."
The WikiLeaks site calls itself "a multi-jurisdictional public service designed to protect whistleblowers, journalists and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public." Since its creation in 2007 it has devoted itself to increased transparency for institutions - whether or not the institutions desire such transparency. The WikiLeaks servers are based in Sweden.
In the last month, WikiLeaks has come under heavy fire for its publication of the Afghan War Diary, a collection of approximately 91,000 documents dated between 2004 and 2009 related to the war in Afghanistan. Among concerns are worries that informants named in the documents will face reprisal.
The documents are believed to come from 22-year-old intelligence analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning, who Congressman Mike Roberts says should be given the death penalty for his actions. Manning is currently in custody in a Quantico, Virginia-located Marine base. Jacob Appelbaum, who spoke last month at Defcon as a Wikileaks representative, found himself detained by FBI agents and questioned about WikiLeaks while his computer equipment was seized. Julian Assange, Australian computer scientist and WikiLeaks founder, is currently in hiding .
It is unknown how much Morrell knows of the documents, given that the U.S. military has forbidden its members to view any WikiLeaks material . A WikiLeaks document posted this March details 2008 plans on the part of the U.S. government to destroy WikiLeaks, saying that the website "represents a potential force protection, counterintelligence, operational security (OPSEC) and information security (INFOSEC) threat to the US Army."[youtube]t_0fU7SYqoI[/youtube]