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How WikiLeaks learnt US army's secrets

January 31, 2011 16:06 IST

A book has claimed that the United States army personnel, who has been accused of downloading and passing thousands of secret documents to WikiLeaks, was able to copy them due to a lapse in security.

Specialist Bradley Manning, 23, who downloaded the material in Iraq, had 'unrestricted access' to millions of classified documents 'with virtually no supervision or safeguards', revealed extracts from the book.

David Leigh and Luke Harding, authors of WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, named Manning as the alleged source of the information which was passed on The Guardian by WikiLeaks.

The book devotes two chapters to the means by which Manning leaked thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, including US diplomatic cables and military logs related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"From his first day at Hammer, he was puzzled by the lax security. The door was bolted with a five-digit cipher lock, but all you had to do was knock on the door and you would be let in," the Telegraph quoted the authors as writing. 

The soldier is said to have downloaded thousands of documents on to computer CDs labelled 'Lady Gaga'.

Manning was charged last year with the unauthorised disclosure of classified material and faces a jail term of several decades if he is tried and convicted.

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