U.S. Braces for Fallout from Afghan War Leak

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The monumental leak of thousands of classified Afghan war documents has sent the Obama administration into the damage control mode.

The man responsible for the leak said he was exposing U.S. war crimes, but the White House says he has put American lives at risk.
     
In the meantime, the unauthorized disclosure has threatened to create deeper doubts among the American public about the war. It could also raise questions around the world about Washington's ability to protect military secrets.

The Man Behind the Leak?

Officials said they believe U.S. Army intelligence analyst Brad Manning was responsible for leaking the classified military files.

"He thought that there was a lot that was being covered up that needed to come out," Wired.com Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen said. 

Allegedly disillusioned about the war, Manning struck up an online friendship with former computer hacker Adrian Lamo. He told the Lamo he had discovered "incredible, awful things...things he believed the public needed to know."

Lamo then alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"Had I not acted I would have always wondered - had I gotten someone killed?" Lamo said. 

Manning, whom U.S. authorities arrested May 26 outside of Baghdad, is in a Kuwaiti jail accused of document theft.

On Sunday, the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released the classified war records in what's being called one of the biggest intelligence breaches in U.S. history.

The roughly 92,000 leaked reports included six years of classified records depicting details about missions gone seriously wrong, civilian deaths, and being double-crossed by America's alleged ally, the Pakistani government.

"It poses a very real and potential threat to those that are working hard every day to keep us safe," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

With Friends Like These…

The U.S. gives more than a billion dollars annually to Pakistan to help fight terrorism. But some of the leaked documents offer strong evidence that Pakistan's military intelligence agency has helped the Afghan insurgency in their attacks against American troops. 

The leak comes at a time when some polls have found a majority of Americans think the war is no longer worth fighting.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, the body of one of two missing U.S. sailors captured by the Taliban has been recovered.  An extensive search continues for the other missing serviceman. The militant group ambushed the men Friday when they stopped at a local bazaar.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.