Washington, July 28 (ANI): Teams of US military analysts are examining the leaked 90, 000-odd classified documents that catalogue attacks on and by NATO forces, and one of their chief concerns is to assess the potential damage to the military's human intelligence network that has been built up over nearly a decade inside Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Though the web site Wikileaks insists it has behaved responsibly, even withholding some 15,000 records that are believed to include names of specific Afghans or Pakistanis who helped US troops on the ground, experts have warned of the possibility of revenge killings in the wake of the disclosures.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden predicted that the Taliban would take anything that described a US strike and the intelligence behind it "and figure out who was in the room when that particular operation, say in 2008, was planned, and in whose home".
The militants would then likely punish the traitor who had worked with the Americans, he said.
Former senior intelligence officer Robert Riegle said: "It's possible that someone could get killed in the next few days."
Experts said that prime accused Bradley Manning's job in Iraq would almost certainly have given him access to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet), which hundreds of thousands of US military personnel, civilian employees and private contractors have access to all over the world.
They said information on the network is classed up to the level of "secret" and excludes the more sensitive "top secret" or "sensitive compartmented information" categories.
Despite anger in Washington at the size of the leak, there is relief that the leak did not contain more revealing and detailed information.
The large number of people given access was a deliberate decision by the Pentagon to "grapple with big issues from the top to the bottom", said Geoff Morrell, spokesman for Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary.
"The answer to this is to go after the bad actors, hold them responsible, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law but don't change the fundamental trusting relationship," Morrell added. (ANI)