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An interview with’s Joshua Foust about the release of thousands of secret documents

Earlier this week, 75,000 classified U.S. government documents were released by WikiLeaks. They’re the new Pentagon Papers — or, much ado about nothing, with many analysts concluding that the reports simply confirm our worst fears about how the war in Afghanistan is being prosecuted.

But for those taking the time to read the leaked documents, there is concern that they contain dangerous information. Among those expressing concern was U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said Thursday that the leaks could cost the lives of American service members.

Joshua Foust, a military analyst who has lived and worked in Afghanistan, is one of those who fears there could be lasting and deadly consequences.

Foust blogs at and is a contributor to Need to Know’s website. On Monday, he wrote: “If I were a Taliban operative with access to a computer — and lots of them have access to computers — I’d start searching the WikiLeaks data for incident reports near my area of operation to see if I recognized anyone. And then I’d kill whomever I could identify.” This morning, Channel 4 news in the U.K. reports that indeed,  the Taliban is studying the report and will hunt down and punish any U.S. informers it identifies.

Here, he discusses the tension between transparency and security with Need to Know host Jon Meacham.