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New Administration, DoD Leaks On Deployed Force Casualties Unpardonable

Today, another wave of irresponsible government leakers have jeopardized national security by divulging information on deployed forces in Iraq. Thankfully, Americans might be hard pressed to find a media outlet jeopardizing their integrity by publishing the leaked information. But one irresponsible news organization, Bloomberg News, has run with the story assembled from various government leakers in both the military and the Bush administration.

The number of American military members who died in Iraq dropped to 12 in July, the lowest monthly total since the 2003 invasion, as the U.S. said Iraqi forces were increasingly effective in combating militants.

The deadliest month for U.S. forces in Iraq was November 2004, when 147 members of the military died. The toll for June was 30. The monthly figures were calculated by Bloomberg News from the Defense Department’s daily totals.

It is unfortunate that a Department of Defense website irresponsibly makes such critical force data openly available through the Internet, an open information vehicle employed effectively by our enemies. Calls for investigation and InfoSec audits may be warranted. ThreatsWatch editors certainly would support such a move.

Exacerbating the situation, a high level Administration source has disseminated the following this morning:

“Violence is down to its lowest level since the spring of 2004, and we’re now in our third consecutive month with reduced violence levels holding steady. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker caution that the progress is still reversible, but they report that there now appears to be a “degree of durability” to the gains we have made.”

That senior Administration official, a suspected collaborator in the leak conspiracy exposed initially by the Los Angeles Times, has been under fire in certain congressional circles as the potential target of hearings, investigations and charges of war crimes.

ThreatsWatch will be utilizing its many military, intelligence, policy maker and administration sources to get to the bottom of what is proving to be yet another intolerable breach of confidentiality and information security at the highest levels of government. This clearly politically motivated and coordinated endeavor to sabotage future policy aims can be neither dismissed nor allowed to proceed unpunished.

We commend the overall media restraint displayed thus far in aiding the damaging propagation of this leaked data. While ThreatsWatch has often been critical of the major US media outlets in this regard, it must be acknowledged that this is a restraint they have been admirably consistent in demonstrating regarding this type of unnecessary wartime data that clearly serves no public service in exposing further.

We will keep readers updated as we ferret out the source, aims and damaging consequences associated with these irresponsible and unpardonable concerted acts.

UPDATE: The “senior Administration official” noted above has now added to the damage by leaking military intelligence data on Iraqi force structure. “Iraqi forces now have 192 combat battalions in the fight – and more than 110 of these battalions are taking the lead in combat operations against terrorists and extremists,” the senior official was quoted as saying to reluctant media sources, now pressed into covering the developing and clearly organized and systematic intelligence leak effort.

This level of detailed intelligence on Iraqi military force structure should not be made public by any means, and the “senior Administration official” propagating such must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. It is, nonetheless, unfortunate that US media organizations no feel compelled to cover a developing story that is now, regrettably, ‘out there.’ More to come as the situation develops.