US trying to stop WikiLeaks disclosures: Biden

Joe Biden says the Justice Department is looking at what the US can do to stop more document releases from WikiLeaks.

Last Updated: Dec 20, 2010, 00:28 AM IST

Washington: Vice President Joe Biden says
the Justice Department is looking at what the US can do to
stop more document releases from WikiLeaks.

Biden says he won`t comment on that process, but has
strong words about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Biden says if Assange conspired to get classified
documents with a member of the US military, then "that`s
fundamentally different" than if a reporter were given
classified material by a source.

The vice president tells NBC television`s `Meet the
Press` that he would argue it`s closer to being "a high-tech
terrorist" than what happened in the Pentagon Papers, with the
1971 leak of a government study about US involvement in
Vietnam.

An Army private is suspected of passing classified
information to WikiLeaks.

On Afghanistan, the Vice President said next summer`s
planned withdrawal of US troops will be more than a token
reduction.

He also promised that "we`re going to be totally out
of there, come hell or high water, by 2014."

Al-Qaida`s strength, he said, "has been significantly
degraded" as US forces have gone after the terrorist network`s
leadership.

But, he added, there has been less success in
countering the Afghan insurgency, dealing with the safe havens
in Pakistan and creating a stable Afghan government.

"We`re making progress on all fronts, more in some
areas than in others," Biden said.

"Are we making sufficient progress fast enough? The
answer remains to be seen."

Nevertheless, Biden said plans have not changed on
President Barack Obama`s pledge to begin US troop reductions
next summer.

"We are going to, come July, begin to draw down
American forces" and begin to transfer responsibility to the
Afghans, said Biden. "It will not be a token amount."

The Obama administration repeatedly has said that July
would mark the beginning of the troop withdrawals and its size
would depend on military conditions at the time.

"We`re starting it in July of 2011, and we`re going to be
totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014," Biden
said.

Biden said intelligence agencies are united in
believing that al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan no longer
has the capacity to pull off an operation on the level of the
September 11 attacks.

But allied terrorist groups elsewhere, he said, are
thought to be planning "much smaller bore but yet deadly
attempts to go after the United States."

PTI