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Did Uncle Sam try to kill Wikileaks?

A leaked document reveals a strategy by the U.S. Army to hack the Web site and take it down. Read on for the chilling details

By Robert X. Cringely, InfoWorld
March 15, 2010 07:11 PM ET

InfoWorld - I just received an email from Wikileaks editor Julian Assange that's pretty wild. It accuses the U.S. government of deliberately trying to take down the whistle-blower site PDF two years ago.

As proof, Wikileaks has posted a 32-page classified document PDF from the Department of Defense Intelligence Analysis program, dated March 2008, which details "the counterintelligence threat posed to the US Army by the Wikileaks.org Web site." It reads:

The possibility that a current employee or mole within DoD or elsewhere in the US government is providing sensitive information or classified information to Wikileaks.org cannot be ruled out. Wikileaks.org claims that the "leakers" or "whistleblowers" of sensitive or classified DoD documents are former US government employees. These claims are highly suspect, however, since Wikileaks.org states that the anonymity and protection of the leakers or whistleblowers is one of its primary goals.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Read up on Cringely's long-standing coverage of Wikileaks' ups and downs, from its economic struggles to its fights with Swiss banks and the Church of Scientology | Stay up to date on all Robert X. Cringely's observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]

If I'm parsing the bureaucratese in this document correctly, the DoD believed the "former" employees who provide documents to Wikileaks are actually current employees whom, one assumes, could be hunted down and squelched. Or that they are agents working for foreign adversaries. Or both.

The DoD also seems to be worried that the information posted on Wikileaks isn't true. To wit:

... the Wikileaks.org web site could be used to post fabricated information; to post misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda; or to conduct perception management and influence operations designed to convey a negative message to those who view or retrieve information from the Web site....

Of course, the U.S. military is among the many organizations whose secrets Wikileaks has exposed; this list also includes money-laundering Swiss banks, the Church of Scientology, and repressive governments around the globe.

The document goes on to detail some of the documents that Wikileaks leaked:

* Secretive U.S. document exploitation centers

* Detainee operations and alleged human rights violations

* Information on the U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines units, Iraqi police, and coalition forces from Poland, Denmark, Ukraine, Latvia, Slovakia, Romania, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and El Salvador serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

* Nearly the entire order of battle for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as of April 2007.

* Alleged revelations that the U.S. government violated the Chemical Weapons Convention in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In other words, Wikileaks produced a 238-page torture manual used by the U.S. Army at Guantanamo Bay, a map of the Abu Ghraib secret prison in Iraq, and evidence that the United States was violating international treaties by using toxic weapons, all of which proved to be highly embarrassing (not to mention accurate) to the U.S. government, but unlikely to compromise U.S. soldiers in the field.

Originally published on www.infoworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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