WASHINGTON--The White House is scrambling in the wake of more than 90,000 WikiLeak documents on the Afghanistan war posted; reports on a grim picture in The Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel, which has an English edition.
My predictions: Another, more profound round of handwringing over the role of the Internet, comparisons to the Viet Nam War's Pentagon Papers publication, another week with the Obama White House playing defense. Last week, Obama's messaging team had to fight to get word out about the signing of a historic financial overhaul bill in the wake of the Shirley Sherrod firing uproar--prompted by the posting of a video and story on the Internet.
The White House is slamming WikiLeaks for publishing the memos. A White House official sent this memo around Sunday night, on background:
1) I don't think anyone who follows this issue will find it surprising that there are concerns about ISI and safe havens in Pakistan. In fact, we've said as much repeatedly and on the record. Attached please find a document with some relevant quotes from senior USG officials.
2) The period of time covered in these documents (January 2004-December 2009) is before the President announced his new strategy. Some of the disconcerting things reported are exactly why the President ordered a three month policy review and a change in strategy.
3) Note the interesting graphs (pasted below) from the Guardian's wikileaks story. I think they help put these documents in context.
4) As you report on this issue, it's worth noting that wikileaks is not an objective news outlet but rather an organization that opposes US policy in Afghanistan.