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Video: Army private eyed in WikiLeaks scandal

  1. Transcript of: Army private eyed in WikiLeaks scandal

    MATT LAUER, co-host: Let's begin , though, on a Tuesday morning with fallout from that leak of some 92,000 classified military documents, and the young soldier who could be behind it. NBC 's Jim Miklaszewski 's at the Pentagon this morning. Mik, good morning to you.

    JIM MIKLASZEWSKI reporting: Good morning, Matt. US military and Pentagon officials have launched a massive effort to cull through those thousands of documents to determine if they contain any serious secrets that could put national security or American soldiers at risk. The irony here, however, is that the US government hasn't been able to access nearly most of those documents that WikiLeaks claims it has. The mountain of raw intelligence covers a six-year stretch at a time the US war effort was failing and the Taliban was on the rise. The secret documents were released by WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange .

    Mr. JULIAN ASSANGE (WikiLeaks Founder): The real story of this material is that it's war. It's one damn thing after another. It is the continuous small events, the continuous deaths of children, insurgents, allied forces.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: The documents reveal that even as Pakistan accepted billions in US aid , Pakistani intelligence officials allegedly conspired with Taliban leaders to attack American forces in Afghanistan . The documents single out former intelligence chief Hamid Gul .

    Mr. HAMID GUL (Former Head of Pakistan Intelligence): I deny it vehemently, outrightly. I think it is mischievous, it is fictitious and it is fabricated.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs pushed back saying since those reports, Pakistan has increased its efforts to eliminate safe havens and drive out the Taliban .

    Mr. ROBERT GIBBS (White House Press Secretary): I'm not going to stand here on July the 26th and tell you that all is well. I will tell you that we have made progress in moving this relationship forward.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: The documents do suggest some coalition military cover-ups. In May 2007 , the Taliban shot down a US helicopter with a shoulder-fired missile, killing seven soldiers, but NATO commanders concealed that fact. US military officials now tell NBC News it was an Iranian-made heat-seeker that brought down the chopper. But where did this monumental leak of secrets come from? A senior Pentagon official says the prime suspect is 22-year-old Army Private First Class Bradley Manning . He's already facing charges for allegedly leaking this classified gun camera video of an Apache helicopter attacking civilians in Baghdad to none other than Julian Assange and his Web site WikiLeaks . Assange is an Australian-born self-appointed activist who uses WikiLeaks to reveal government secrets in the name of transparency and accountability. Raffi Khatchadourian reported on Assange for New Yorker magazine .

    Mr. RAFFI KHATCHADOURIAN (New Yorker Magazine): WikiLeaks and to some extent Julian Assange himself work outside the boundaries of conventional media, and he seeks to expose injustice as he sees it.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: On a more somber note this morning, the US military has recovered the body of a missing sailor killed in a firefight with the Taliban over the weekend. He's 30-year-old Justin McNeley , a father of two, from Kingman , Arizona . A massive search effort is under way for a second sailor still missing, believed to be held captive by the Taliban . Meredith :