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Leaked US military documents don't reveal key intel: Gates

world Updated: Oct 17, 2010 16:59 IST

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The leak of thousands of US military documents from the war in Afghanistan by the whistle -blower website WikiLeaks contained only "tactical military operations" and did not disclose any sensitive intelligence sources or methods, the Pentagon has concluded.

However, there is still concern Afghans named in the published documents could be retaliated against by the Taliban.

The assessment, revealed in a letter from US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin, comes after a thorough Pentagon review of the more than 70,000 documents posted by the WikiLeaks site in July, CNN reported.

The letter, was written by Gates in response to a query by the senator regarding the leak of classified information. Gates said the review found most of the information relates to "tactical military operations."

"The initial assessment in no way discounts the risk to national security," Gates wrote. "However, the review to date has not revealed any sensitive intelligence sources and methods compromised by the disclosure." The defense secretary said that the published documents do contain names of some cooperating Afghans, who could face reprisal by Taliban.

"We assess this risk as likely to cause significant harm or damage to national security interests of the United States and are examining mitigation options," Gates said.

"We are working closely with our allies to determine what risks our mission partners may face as a result of the disclosure," he said. Gates also said there is still the possibility of more documents being published, for which the Pentagon is preparing.

Rattled by the leaks, the Pentagon had created a team of more than 100 personnel made up of mostly intelligence analysts from various branches of the Defense Department as well as the FBI, who were involved in the review.

WikiLeaks has approximately 15,000 more Afghanistan documents that the site is reviewing because they contain names or other sensitive information.

In addition to the document review, the military has launched a criminal investigation into the leak. Since the initial publication of the documents, military officials consider a young soldier Bradley Manning a prime suspect in the leak.

Manning is already being held in Quantico, Virginia, charged with leaking video of an Iraq air strike to WikiLeaks as well as removing classified information from military computers.