World News Brief, Wednesday July 28

WikiLeaks papers show repeated signs of Osama bin Laden since 2003; Pentagon hunting for whistleblower who leaked documents to WikiLeaks; US and South Korea join on third day of military manouvres to warn off North Korea; North Korea has not responded with promised retaliation; $17 billion loss for BP; and more

Top of the Agenda: Leaks Not a Security Threat


The WikiLeaks release of 91,000 classified military documents is unlikely to undermine congressional support for the Afghan war (WashPost), push the Obama administration to shift policy, or represent a threat to national security troops' safety, many analysts believe. However, the reports seem to contradict CIA chief Leon Panetta's claim last month that there has been no intelligence on Osama bin Laden since 2003 (Telegraph), showing repeated instances in which U.S. forces saw signs of the al-Qaeda chief. The Pentagon is hunting for the whistleblower (BBC) who leaked the documents.

WikiLeaks has tried to raise its profile (WSJ) by partnering with news organizations when it released the Afghan war documents. In an interview with Der Spiegel, one of the news outlets, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the material sheds light on the "everyday brutality and squalor of war" and asserts that it will change public opinion.


The WikiLeaks reports are important not because of their information, but because they come at a time of growing public disillusionment about the Afghan war, says CFR'S Daniel Markey.

"The Pentagon Papers they're not," writes CFR's Max Boot in Commentary, adding the only thing new he learned was that the Taliban have used heat-seeking missiles to attack coalition aircraft.

Although the contents of the WikiLeaks records is generally known, the documentation in "excruciating detail" makes "the most powerful case yet for withdrawal from Afghanistan sooner rather than later," says this STRATFOR analysis.


This CFR Backgrounder examines Pakistan's military intelligence agency, which  has long been thought to be meddling in its neighbors' affairs, and experts have stepped up accusations that the agency has links to terrorist groups.


PACIFIC RIM: N. Korea Quiet on War Games, So Far


U.S. and South Korean naval ships fired artillery and anti-submarine bombs (AP) off South Korea's east coast on the third day of military maneuvers designed to warn North Korea. So far, North Korea has not responded with promised retaliation.

Experts say the United States must continue to work toward North Korea's denuclearization and prepare for volatility following leadership change in Pyongyang.


- Iran Wants Fuel Swap Talks
- BP Posts $17 Billion Loss

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