By Gautham Nagesh - 10/24/10 05:33 PM EDT
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was among the U.S. government officials who condemned WikiLeaks's weekend release of almost 400,000 classified documents from the war in Iraq.
On Friday, the online whistleblower site released the trove of documents, which appear to indicate that the human cost of the war in Iraq has been higher than previously reported. Adm. Mike Mullen over Twitter on Saturday accused WikiLeaks of aiding enemies of the international coalition.
"Another irresponsible posting of stolen classified documents by Wikileaks puts lives at risk and gives adversaries valuable information," Mullen tweeted.
WikiLeaks previously released the documents under embargo to The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel and Le Monde before posting them publicly, similar to the group's strategy for releasing the controversial Afghan War documents earlier this year.
The documents allege coalition troops turned a blind eye to torture and the killing of civilians, prompting British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to call for an examination.
"We can bemoan how these leaks occurred, but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious," Clegg told the BBC.
Meanwhile the Times published a stinging profile on Saturday of WikiLeaks's founder Julian Assange, who has increasingly become the focus of criticism for both the site's releases as well as his erratic personal conduct. According to the Times, Assange demands collaborators use encrypted cell phones, uses only cash and takes extraordinary measures to ensure he is not under surveillance. He even admitted the prospect of going to prison is no longer as daunting as it once was.
“When it comes to the point where you occasionally look forward to being in prison on the basis that you might be able to spend a day reading a book, the realization dawns that perhaps the situation has become a little more stressful than you would like,” he said during an interview in London.
Assange also walked out of an interview with CNN recently when asked about pending rape and molestation allegations against him in Sweden. He accused the reporter of attempting to contaminate the interview with questions about his personal life. Assange was denied a residency permit in Sweden last week for undisclosed reasons. He was attempting to gain residency so WikiLeaks would be protected under the country's strict freedom of the press laws.