Military documents laid bare in the biggest leak of secret information in U.S. history suggest that far more Iraqis died than previously acknowledged during the years of sectarian bloodletting and criminal violence unleashed by the American-led invasion in 2003.

Military documents laid bare in the biggest leak of secret information in U.S. history suggest that far more Iraqis died than previously acknowledged during the years of sectarian bloodletting and criminal violence unleashed by the American-led invasion in 2003.


The accounts of civilian deaths among nearly 400,000 purported Iraq war logs released Friday by the WikiLeaks website include deaths unknown or unreported before now - as many as 15,000 by the count of one independent research group.


The field reports from U.S. forces and intelligence officers also indicate U.S. forces often failed to follow up on credible evidence that Iraqi forces mistreated, tortured and killed their captives as they battled a violent insurgency.


Iraq's prime minister accused WikiLeaks of trying to sabotage his re-election hopes by highlighting years-old abuses by Iraqi security forces. A statement released Saturday by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office said the documents show no proof of any improper treatment of detainees under al-Maliki's administration.


The war logs were made public in defiance of the Pentagon, which insisted that the release would put the lives of U.S. troops and their military partners at risk.


Although the documents appear to be authentic, their origin could not be independently confirmed, and WikiLeaks declined to offer any details about them.


The 391,831 documents date from the start of 2004 to Jan. 1, 2010. They provide a ground-level view of the war written mostly by low-ranking officers in the field. The dry reports, full of military jargon and acronyms, were meant to catalog "significant actions" over six years of heavy U.S. and allied military presence in Iraq.


The Pentagon has previously declined to confirm the authenticity of WikiLeaks-released records. But it has put to work more than 100 U.S. analysts to review what was previously released and has never indicated that any past WikiLeaks releases were inaccurate.