WikiLeaks: Pentagon scurrying to save sources from Taliban
The Taliban are combing through leaked files for names of Afghan informants.
Washington: The Pentagon is reportedly working around the clock sifting through the thousands of leaked secret documents on the Afghan war to determine whether its sources have been compromised.
ABC News quoted Pentagon sources as saying that measures are being taken in Afghanistan to protect its contacts who may have been unmasked from Taliban revenge.
Investigators are also reportedly widening their search for suspects amid growing evidence that suspected leaker Private First Class Bradley Manning had outside help leaking the documents.
Manning is being held at Quantico Marine Base south of Washington last night.
According to the New York Times, investigators are trying to learn if any of Manning`s friends, including college students in the Boston area, may have helped him or have connections to WikiLeaks, the website responsible for releasing over 90,000 secret documents.
The Boston Globe is reporting that a recent MIT graduate has admitted to federal investigators that he met with Manning and exchanged e-mails with him, but denied helping him leak the intelligence documents.
"Manning is the only person publicly alleged to be one of our sources for military material. And, we can sort of say, if those allegations are true, then of course the man is a hero. But they may not be true," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told ABC News said.
Adrian Lamo, the California hacker who turned in Manning, said he believes others may be involved.
Lamo was an outspoken supporter of WikiLeaks, but how Manning was leaking the data has alarmed him, according to Kevin Poulsen, senior editor for Wired.com.
The Pentagon`s greatest fear about the leaks could be coming true.
A spokesman for the Taliban is quoted by a British broadcaster saying they are combing through the documents looking for names of Afghan informants.
"We know how to punish them," Zabihullah Mujahid told Channel 4 News.
ABC News claims that it has found the names of nine Afghans working with NATO forces.
Former CIA director John McLaughlin says, "By putting those names out, certain people in Afghanistan are now on hit lists."
In a clip released by ABC`s "This Week with Christiane Amanpour”, Defence Secretary Robert Gates says the Taliban statement proves the danger of releasing the documents.