Almost funny hearing how the Pentagon does damage control

Danny Schechter adds some intriguing details behind the Wikileaks story:

The Pentagon had been bracing for the release for months. Fearing more compromises of national security and more embarrassment for practices they wanted hidden, they had set up a WikiLeaks war room staffed with 120 operatives in anticipation.

A special intelligence unit called the Red Cell was involved. The task has been to prod the American spy networks to operate in a cleverer and more intelligent manner. (Ironically, WikiLeaks had leaked some of their internal reports earlier.)

One report dealt with perceptions abroad that the US supported terrorists. Another was oriented toward how to sell support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in Western Europe, counseling that “counting on apathy is not enough.”

I can testify to their savvy. I met members of the unit at a University of Westminister conference on war and terrorism in London in September.…  There were three of them. Two stood out because of their crew cuts and military demeanor. A third was a Muslim woman. They were clearly on a reconnaissance mission probably linked to WikiLeaks detection since it had been reported that English students were helping the covert citizen agency target covert government activities.

I spoke at some length with their leader, an active-duty army major, who told me that his unit in Iraq handled high-value prisoners, including Saddam Hussein. (They escorted him to the hangman, he revealed.) He was very friendly and… made no secret of his affiliation but clearly was not at a leftist academic conference to collect footnotes.

As we know now, the Pentagon was unable to stop the release, but may have pressured WikiLeaks not to name names. We may never know what happened until WikiLeaks finds some document about their anti-WikiLeaks operations.

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