'Lapses in security' let US soldier leak cables
Published 31/01/2011 | 05:00
An astonishing security lapse allegedly allowed an American soldier to pass hundreds of thousands of secret documents to the WikiLeaks website, a new book will claim.
The army private accused of downloading the material in Iraq had "unrestricted access" to millions of classified documents "with virtually no supervision or safeguards", according to a publication.
In a departure from journalistic convention, the authors, David Leigh and Luke Harding of 'The Guardian' newspaper, name Specialist Bradley Manning, the soldier being held in a US military jail, as the source of the information passed on to the newspaper by WikiLeaks.
The decision to name Mr Manning may undermine his forthcoming court case and lead to the journalists being accused of betraying a source.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has repeatedly refused to confirm that Mr Manning was the source.
Mr Manning (23) was charged last year with the unauthorised disclosure of classified material and faces a jail term of several decades if convicted.
The book also discloses that Mr Assange wore a wig and dressed as a woman as he tried to evade the media after the release of the US embassy cables last November.
'The Guardian' and WikiLeaks previously worked closely together to release the sensitive American documents, but the website is now accusing the newspaper of betrayal.
The website has stopped co-operating with English newspaper 'The Guardian' amid fears over its handling of sensitive documents and sources.
'WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy', published this week, devotes two chapters to the means by which Mr Manning leaked hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, including US diplomatic cables and military logs relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (© Daily Telegraph, London)