On Sunday, the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released more than 91,000 confidential U.S. military records from the front lines in Afghanistan, and the documents provide new and sometimes explosive details of an intractable conflict with vast repercussions for national security.
Several weeks before publication, the website gave exclusive access to three news organizations in three different countries — The New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and Germany’s Der Spiegel — to review and verify the documents and sift through them for new information. Some of the more troubling revelations include information on a secret U.S. assassination squad, Task Force 373, that has been responsible for civilian deaths in Afghanistan and suspicions of Pakistani cooperation with Taliban insurgents.
Need to Know took its own preliminary look at the documents today and found some new tidbits — grim details of life in a war zone, and a bleak portrait of the challenges facing U.S. and Afghan forces as they attempt to rebuild the country’s tattered infrastructure. But with nearly 100,000 reports in the WikiLeaks database, and another 15,000 possibly on the way, those details represent just a small fraction of the raw data available on the war. We want to explore the documents as fully as possible — from the explosive revelations to the smallest details — and for that, we need your help.
Need to Know is inviting readers to help us in our investigation of the WikiLeaks documents and sort through the database, at wardiary.wikileaks.org, for new details that we or other news organizations may have missed. What reports do you find most compelling? What aspects of life in Afghanistan, and of the U.S. military and reconstruction efforts, do you think need closer examination? E-mail us with your finds at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them in the comments section below. Include a link to the document and a name so we can identify you, and any questions or comments you may have about the information.
Our examination of the WikiLeaks database may also culminate in a broadcast segment on our show Friday, and you can help us shape our questions and point us in new directions.