The US Army kept the top secret the name of the Army staff sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers while it purged the Internet of references to him
According to The Military snaps of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, as well as a recounting in his base's newspaper of a 2007 battle in Iraq involving his unit, where wiped.
Of course the problem for those in the Army hoping to avoid anything getting out about Bales which was not blessed by the Army press office was that they had forgotten that there were cached versions all over the Internet.
Within minutes of the Pentagon leaking his name Friday evening, news organizations and others found and published his pictures, the account of the battle - which depicts Bales as a war hero and excerpts from his wife's personal blog.
The military claimed that purging the material wasn't to lessen the Army's embarrassment but to protect the privacy of Bales' family.
An army spokesman said that while it knew the pages were cached, the army owed it to Bale's wife and kids to do what it could
Sadly another Pentagon official acknowledged that one of the reasons for the delay in releasing Bales' name was to remove references to his Army service from the Internet.
In the morning of March 11 Bales allegedly left his base in southern Afghanistan, walked to two nearby villages and killed 16 residents. He then returned to his base, the military says, where he was arrested. The military didn't disclose his identity until five days later.
Parts of a private blog that Karilyn Bales, the suspect's wife, has been writing for several years also appear were deleted. Her blog discussed her husband's disappointment at being passed over for a promotion. It was previously public but now is password-protected.