I want to look at two data points about the Wikileaks video.
First, note what General Barry McCaffrey has to say about the mission depicted in the Wikileaks video (around 1:25):
Well, it’s not clear to me it was a mistake, Contessa, I mean if there were armed people on the ground, the fact that they appeared relaxed is good. It means you caught them by surprise. That apparently was a Special Operations mission. Everything about their raids is classified. [my emphasis]
McCaffrey’s a pretty (ahem) straight shooter. And he seems to suggest here that there was nothing out of the ordinary about this mission–for a Special Ops mission.
Which is why I find it so interesting that DOD now says it can’t find its own copy of the video.
The U.S. military said Tuesday it can’t find its copy of a video that shows two employees of the Reuters news agency being killed by Army helicopters in 2007, after a leaked version circulated the Internet and renewed questions about the attack.
Capt. Jack Henzlik, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said that forces in Iraq have not been able to locate the video within its files.
“We’re attempting to retrieve the video at this time,” Henzlik said.
Now, when I first read this, I grumbled, “ah jeebus, I’m going to have to start another catalog of missing evidence again.” But I’m not sure that’s what this says. Henzlik seems to suggest that CentCom did have a video in its files, but “forces in Iraq” can’t find it anymore.
But if this is a JSOC mission, would you be looking in USSOCOM, and not CentCom?
And is this so sensitive because this is precisely how Special Ops are supposed to behave?