Evidence is mounting against a 22-year-old soldier in connection with the 90,000 classified documents published by the Web site WikiLeaks that exposed internal rifts between the United States and Pakistan and other secrets.
Spc. Bradley Manning, who is being held in Kuwait on previous charges of leaking a classified video of a U.S. military helicopter firing on a group of people in Baghdad, is "one of the suspects" in the investigation, said Christopher Grey, director of public affairs for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command.
"We won't know until we complete a full investigation," Grey said regarding Manning. "We're following every lead and every piece of evidence."
Investigators told the Wall Street Journal that computers used by Manning had evidence linking him to the trove of documents sent to the Web site. There was evidence that he had downloaded the documents, of which 76,000 were posted on WikiLeaks.org Sunday night. Another 15,000 are still in control of the Web site, which plans on publishing them at a later date.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at a Pentagon press briefing that the leaks pose significant threats to troops in the field.
"The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships in that key part of the world," Gates said.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, who joined Gates at the briefing, said the leaks may already be responsible for killing troops.
Mullen said Julian Assange, the owner of WIkiLeaks, "can say whatever he likes about the greater good he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier."
Manning formerly worked in the intelligence operations of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade in Baghdad.
According to reports, Manning used his Top Secret/SCI clearance to access documents regarding Afghanistan despite the fact his work centered on Iraq.
Manning was arrested in the initial videotape leak after he bragged to a former hacker about distributing the classified documents.
He could receive decades of prison time if convicted of leaking classified documents.
Grey said that the Army's investigation, with the aid of other agencies, will reveal who leaked the documents. "It may take some time, but we always get our man," he said. The FBI and the Department of Justice are currently aiding the Army's investigation.