Pentagon demands Wikileaks “return” docs as congressman calls for death penalty for leaker

August 8, 2010

The Pentagon has demanded the “return” of more than 75,000 sensitive military documents that have been released to the press by the whistleblower website Wikileaks. The Associated Press reports that during a press conference on Thursday, Defense Department Press Secretary Geoff Morrell insisted that “Wikileaks return immediately to the US government all versions of documents obtained directly or indirectly from the Department of Defense databases or records,” and to cease any future solicitation of such documents from the public.

Since it is impossible to “return” electronic documents that have been copied by people throughout the world now millions of times, it is thought that the true purpose of this threat is to discourage the further release of a reported 15,000 more documents believed to be held in reserve by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. These are assumed to be even more damaging to the government than the ones so far brought to light. Wikileaks has recently uploaded to its server a 1.4 gigabyte encrypted file named “insurance,” 20 times the combined size of the previously-released 75,000 documents. Some theorize that this is the material being held as collateral against possible future recriminations toward Assange from the government.

It is unknown whether any of this material is related at all to an alleged batch of classified State Department documents that US Army Private Bradley Manning claims to have given Wikileaks. Manning has also confessed to leaking the now-infamous video of Reuters reporters in Baghdad being killed by US troops, and is being held in a military jail in Virginia on the assumption that these confessions are accurate. On Tuesday a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee called Manning’s alleged crime treason, a capital offense, and said that he should be punished with the death penalty. Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan made the statement on a local talk radio program on WHMI:

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