The disclosure of 92,000 classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan by WikiLeaks followed by related stories in The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel surely didn’t happen without the benefit of legal counsel advising on the potential First Amendment and national security issues arising from their publication.

A note to readers published by The Times on its website highlights just how sensitive — and potentially dangerous — much of the information is. The Times states that it cross-checked data, chose not to publish information that would harm national security interests, redacted the names of diplomats, field operatives and military commanders, and avoided reporting on anything that could jeopardize U.S. and allied intelligence-gathering methods. (The Times‘ reports were independent of what WikiLeaks itself published on a special site set up for the disclosures, and what was published by The Guardian and Der Spiegel.)

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