Secret-sharing Wikileaks is about to release what is possibly its most important leak yet: nearly 100,000 internal military documents from the war in Afghanistan—released in concert with three of the world's most important newspapers.
According to the Guardian, the leak consists of
92,201 internal records of actions by the US military in Afghanistanbetween January 2004 and December 2009 – threat reports from intelligence agencies, plans and accounts of coalition operations, descriptions of enemy attacks and roadside bombs, records of meetings with local politicians, most of them classified secret.
Wikileaks has already released the records to The Guardian, The New York Times and Germany's Der Spiegel, all of whom have published front page stories based on them.
The Guardian says the entire cache was supposed to be released simultaneously on WIkileaks' website. But as of this writing, the leak is nowhere to be found. Based on a chat we had in a Wikileaks chatroom, it appears that leak will appear on wardiary.wikileaks.org. As of this writing the page is blank. An anonymous representative of Wikileaks told us to "Please wait a little while," because "it's being worked on." For now, you can access some data through an interactive map on the Guardian's website. (Clicking on any of the 300 incidents brings up a detailed, apparently uncensored military report.)
This is going to be huge. And Wikileaks' strategy to collaborate with mainstream media this time around should heighten the impact of this data. The Guardian is using the log to argue that it presents "a very different landscape" than the one put forward by coalition leaders. Meanwhile, the Times picks out military concerns that Pakistani intelligence is directly aiding insurgents. That "real" journalists are in charge of these reports should move focus off the biases of Wikileaks and Julian Assange—as happened with their "Collateral Murder" video—and onto the leak itself. (Wikileaks agreed to not have any input into the stories built around their leak.)
It's unclear at this time if this leak is related to the case of army intelligence specialist Bradley Manning, the alleged source of the Apache video. But this leak should cause a similar-sized uproar and deliver a more pointed impact than even that graphic video did. The elaborate packages put together by the Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian are only the beginning of this story.