Pentagon calls leaking of secret Iraq war reports ‘shameful’

The leak of classified military reports from the Iraq war by watchdog website WikiLeaks has been called “shameful” by the Defense Department.

Starting Friday, the organization began posting hundreds of thousands of documents online that detail abuse of Iraqi detainees by members of the Iraqi army and police while their American counterparts turned a blind eye. In addition, the reports describe Iraqi civilian deaths at the hands of U.S. soldiers, often by accident at road checkpoints, as well as U.S. military operations against insurgent groups tied to Iran.

“This is an extraordinary disservice to America’s men and women in uniform,” Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said, according to a report by American Forces Press Service.

Morrell said Wikileaks releasing the documents would endanger U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“That danger is now exponentially multiplied as a result of this leak because it gives our enemies the wherewithal to look for vulnerabilities in how we operate and to exploit those opportunities and potentially kill our forces. That is just shameful,” Morrell said.

The watchdog group shared the documents in advance with several news organizations, including the New York Times. According to a Times review, the documents detail about 100,000 civilian deaths caused by the war in Iraq from 2004 to 2009, though some deaths may have been counted more than once while other reports have inconsistent casualty figures.

The release has led at least one member of Congress to call for a fresh investigation into the civilian deaths during the Iraq war.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is calling for “a true accounting of the war in Iraq.”

“The American people have a right to know how many innocent civilians were killed in a war based on lies. It is possible that more than a million innocent civilians have perished as a result of the invasion and the ensuing war. As we still grieve for the loss of our own U.S. troops, we must remember that the Iraqi people are still grieving over the loss of husbands, wives, sons and daughters who were innocent noncombatants,” Kucinich said in a statement Friday.