The New York Times released an article yesterday on a recent WikiLeaks acquisition. The cache of some 300,000 documents regarding secret field reports on the war in Iraq does not shed any new light, the Times says, but “they offer insight, texture and context from the people actually fighting the war”.
The release by the independent organization, WikiLeaks, faces serious opposition. WikiLeaks has failed more than once to redact sensitive information from the records it makes available. The Times discusses the serious repercussions such leaks of information have on the security and success of military operations overseas. The Pentagon has swiftly released a formal response deploring the disclosure.
This action of WikiLeaks flies in the face of international transitional justice practice and principles to take into account the rights and interests of individuals concerned-individuals such as victims, witnesses and informants. There are other legal requirements (governed by national laws) in place to protect individuals appearing in records. Closure periods, for example. Redaction of names and closure periods are just some of the usual practices. They are not employed by WikiLeaks but, as any organization that discloses information, it seems that it would help their case to do so.
The New York Times has released some of the secret dispatches with redaction in their War Logs section.