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WikiLeaks May Release 400,000 Iraq War Documents

The Pentagon is bracing for the possible release of as many as 400,000 potentially explosive secret military documents on the U.S.-Iraq war by WikiLeaks.

The self-described whistleblower website could release the files as early as Sunday.

CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate says part of the fear about the potential release is the unknown: Defense officials are not sure exactly what documents WikiLeaks has.

In the context of Iraq, they may be concerned that information will include military operations, prior and current sources, people who may have cooperated in the past, and information that may be revelatory about what we know about the Iraqi government as well as other actors within Iraq, such as the Iranians.

Some of the data, gathered from what an official described to Agencie France Presse as a "tactical reports database" based in Iraq, may be SIGACTS (files on "Significant activities") pertaining to major military operations, movement of personnel, alliances with key tribal figures and allies on the ground.

"This comes at a time when there is some political volatility in Iraq," Zarate said. "We still have 50,000 troops [there], and the military should be concerned . . . for the safety of our troops, but also the political stability or instability in Iraq at this moment."

WikiLeaks had no official comment on the reported release.

On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Zarate said there is a long-term cost to having military and diplomatic files (such as those pertaining to the war in Afghanistan released by WikiLeaks in July) divulged.

"You have a building of distrust with the U.S. Government" among out allies, he said. "Can you trust the U.S. government to not only hold information but to, you know, keep it safe?

"Internally, this also creates a chill in terms of information sharing within the U.S. government - between intelligence services and the military, for example."

When asked by anchor Chris Wragge if there has been any damage assessed from last July's WikiLeaks leak of Afghan war documents, Zarate said, "I think the military is still trying to determine that. We've seen a letter from the Pentagon, the Congress report, indicating we have not seen evidence of the type of damage we were anticipating," such as reprisals by the Taliban against those who collaborated with NATO forces. "But I think it is too early to tell.

"And I think there is a cumulative effect to all of the leaks that will have an impact long term, as you mentioned, with potential cooperators and those aligned with us."

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