At a press briefing today Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell demanded that WikiLeaks “do the right thing” and remove all copies of the classified documents released on their website two weeks ago, and to also return all other classified documents they might hypothetically have.
Exactly what they expect the deletion to accomplish is unclear, as WikiLeaks would have no way of removing the data from everyone else’s personal computer, nor of unpublishing all the newspapers in the world which have exposed the various secrets about the Pentagon’s mismanagement of the war in Afghanistan.
At the same time, Morrell demanded that WikiLeaks also stop all solicitation of future leaks from anyone, insisting that the leaking of classified material is a “threat to peace.” The 92,000 documents released have, according to polls, damaged public perception of the endless Afghan War.
Though WikiLeaks, a group dedicated to transparency, will almost certainly turn down the demands, Morrell suggested the US military won’t take no for an answer and will find other avenues to “compel them to do the right thing.”
WikiLeaks has earned the ire of a number of governments the world over for leaking unpleasant information they would rather keep from public view. Their rather public clash with the US military has been going on since April, when they released a classified video showing US troops massacring Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad suburb.