The court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, 25, finally kicked off in Fort Meade, MD, Monday, June 3, 2013. After three years of detention, the trial seems to be a long time coming, if only to afford Bradley Manning’s supporters and critics some sort of conclusion. The next 12 weeks will be filled of evidence, witnesses, and arguments. Hopefully in the end, we should have a better understanding of hero/traitor Bradley Manning, and the exact place he will end up in American history books.
Pfc. Manning faces 22 charges which include wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of public property or records, transmitting defense information, and fraud and related activity in connection with computers. Most of which, Pfc. Manning has already somewhat admitted to. However, the charge of aiding the enemy may become the focus of the trial as the most serious of the charges, with a maximum punishment of life in prison. Manning has pleaded not guilty to this charge.
Manning’s charges stem from leaking over 700,000 U.S. government documents to Wikileaks, including a video, “Collateral Murder”. In the 2007 video, a U.S. military crew is shown shooting Iraqi civilians and a Reuters journalist from an Army Apache helicopter. Other leaks included diplomatic cables that may have included the identities of operatives and informants, war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, and information on Guantanamo detainees.
Although currently being held in a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Manning was first detained over three years ago and held at the Marine brig at Quantico, VA. It was during this time that Manning’s attorneys claimed the conditions amounted to cruel and unlawful punishment, and sometimes torture, and attempted to have the case dismissed. The judge in the pretrial hearing ended up finding that there may have been some validity to the claims and reduced Manning’s potential prison sentence by four months.
Browse Each Day's Trial Summary Below
Day One: Opening Arguments and Witness List
In the first day of the trial, the U.S. government was expected to introduce evidence that al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden received some of the diplomatic cables after requesting a copy of U.S. military logs from another member of al-Qaeda.
This evidence will likely become the most important evidence in prosecuting Manning of the charge of aiding the enemy, since for the most part, the cables that were leaked have been viewed by most of the global population as information that made the U.S. look bad, but was not harmful to the security of any nation.
As with most parts of the trial, this evidence will be closed to the public. However, prosecutors are expected to call a Navy Seal as witness, who participated in the killing of Osama bin Laden. Copies of the leaked documents were supposedly found on hard-drives recovered during the raid. The question will be whether the documents were found in bin Laden’s possession, and whether or not they aided him in any way.
Although accused of “knowingly [giving] intelligence to the enemy”, it has been Pfc. Manning’s claim that he “could make the world a better place” and believed that the information should be made public. According to Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, “he was young, naïve, good intentioned”.
The prosecutor, Captain Joe Morrow, however, attempted to portray Manning as a person who gathered and shared this information knowing that it would end up in the hands of the enemy, when he passed it along to Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. The prosecutor also attempted to link a Wikileaks “most wanted” list of items published in 2009, with various searches from Manning’s computer.
Over 140 witnesses were called to testify, including several Army criminal investigators who recovered evidence from Manning’s workspace in Baghdad and his roommate, Specialist Eric Baker (who said Manning spent a lot of free time on his laptop).
Day Two: Hacker Adrian Lamo Testifies
Well-known hacker, Adrian Lamo, first alerted authorities to the leaked documents. On day two of the court-martial of Bradley Manning, Lamo testified that there seemed to be no indication that Manning intended on helping the enemy when he leaked the documents.
In May of 2010, while in Baghdad, Manning communicated via instant message with Lamo. The day after Manning messaged that he had “vast amounts of sensitive government information”, Lamo alerted authorities. During questioning by Manning’s attorney, Lamo agreed that Manning had good intentions. When asked by Coombs if he saw something familiar in Manning – “a young 20 year old with good intentions,” Lamo replied, “That was not lost on me, correct.”
Six other witnesses, including an instructor, Troy Moul (who described Manning as studious and curious), were called who discussed forensic examination of evidence and Manning’s training as an intelligence analyst.
Day Three: Meticulously Trained or Ill-Disciplined
Day 3 of the Bradley Manning trial appeared to consist mostly of an argument between the two sides on the state of Manning’s work environment.
The prosecuting attorneys for the U.S. government painted the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division as meticulous and well-trained in keeping classified information safe. However, after cross-examining prosecution witnesses, the defense team led by Coombs, presented the unit as “ill-disciplined” and operating under “lapse security guidelines”.
One witness, Jihrleah Showman, supervisor at Forward Operating Base, testified that she could not recall any official stipulation of areas or training provided on the secure network of U.S. secrets, Siprnet.
Another supervisor, Kyle Balonek, testified that the intelligence analysts were allowed to download and listen to music, watch movies, and play video games.
The judge presiding over the trial, Colonel Denise Lind, asked Balonek, "If an intelligence analyst didn't want to watch a movie, and was interested in politics and wanted to search Siprnet, was he prohibited from doing that?"
To which Balonek replied, "No, he was not.”
At first, the argument between the two sides seems a bit irrelevant and useless except for the non-disclosure agreement that prosecutor Major Ashden Fein provided. The agreement that Manning had signed in 2008 states: "I understand that I have been granted access to classified information by the trust placed in me by the United States government. I have been advised that the unauthorised disclosure of classified information could cause damage to the US or could be used to the advantage of a foreign nation."
Also of note, Showman was asked if Manning was familiar with the internet. Showman replied that Manning once said, "he had to scrub the internet of everything about him, otherwise he would not be able to get a security clearance”, which Judge Lind agreed showed Manning’s "knowledge of the internet". This is important in relation to the charge of “wrongfully and wantonly causing to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the U.S. government, having knowledge that intelligence published on the internet is accessible to the enemy”.
It appears as though Manning, at least knew the information would be published. How the rest of Day 3 of the court-martial matters is unclear.
Day Four: Testimony on Afghanistan Airstrike Video Begins
Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial entered its fourth day on Monday, June 10, when the court heard testimony about an airstrike on the Afghan village of Garani in Farah province. U.S. intelligence maintains that the airstrike killed at least 26 civilians. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission believes that as many as 97 civilians perished in the strike.
In January 2010, WikiLeaks posted a tweet indicating that it had obtained an unpublished, encrypted video of the airstrike. Prosecutors allege that Manning leaked the video to Wikileaks. Manning himself has admitted to sending the classified video to Wikileaks in spring 2010. The Army claims he sent it in November 2009.
Day Five: Manning May Have Compromised Security Dozens of Times
Day five of the Bradley Manning trial opened with an attempt to verify the exact date on which Manning obtained the Afghanistan airstrike video that Wikileaks had also obtained sometime before January 2010. Manning has been charged with a violation of the Espionage Act for sharing this specific file with Wikileaks. The Army must prove that Manning did in fact share the video with Wikileaks in order to make the charge stick. They can’t do that if they can’t prove that Manning obtained the video in November 2009, as they’ve previously claimed.
The defense called forth testimony from computer crimes investigator David Shaver, who testified that Manning obtained the Afghanistan airstrike video on April 17, 2010. This evidence undermines the Army’s attempts to press charges related to the airstrike video.
However, prosecutors also presented evidence on Tuesday that Manning leaked sensitive information in dozens of other areas. The Army alleges that the more than 700,000 videos, battlefield reports and diplomatic cables Manning leaked contain code words, classified information regarding military operations, and the name of an enemy target. Some of the battlefield reports contained information regarding troop movements. They also identified criminal suspects and discussed procedures for disarming explosives. Prosecutors allege this information compromised national security and could have made its way into the hands of Osama bin Laden. The testimony was given in the form of written statements read aloud in court.
Day Six: Pentagon Officials Testify
The sixth day of the Bradley Manning trial saw the court admit as evidence testimony from Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jon LaRue. LaRue testified that the Afghan airstrike video Manning allegedly leaked to Wikileaks contained sensitive information about the craft’s airspeed and angles of engagement. This information could allegedly help enemies of the United States anticipate our military’s tactics and improve their own military attack strategies, according to LaRue.
Manning’s defense team continued to contest the Army’s allegations that Manning leaked the Afghan airstrike video in 2009. Defense also won an objection from the court when the prosecution failed to produce the computer security agreement Manning was supposed to have signed upon his arrival in Iraq in 2009. The prosecution wanted to enter a sample form of the agreement – which was different from the one that Manning actually signed – but the judge refused to allow it.
Witness for the prosecution, Capt. Thomas Cherepko, testified that Manning’s copy of the computer security agreement has gone missing.
Mark Johnson testified under cross-examination that there was no evidence of the “Most Wanted Leaks of 2009” Wikileaks list on Manning’s personal computer. The government has accused Manning of using this list to decide which files to send to Wikileaks.
Day Seven: Court Hears Testimony on “Gitmo Files,” Global Address List
Day seven of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial saw the court hear testimony regarding the documents popularly referred to as the “Gitmo Files.” These are detainee assessment briefs on Guantanamo prisoners Manning has admitting to sharing with WikiLeaks. The court also heard testimony regarding the global address list, a list of 24,000 email addresses of soldiers in Iraq, including the addresses of two 4-star generals in the Iraq theater. Manning has not admitted to leaking the global address list.
Senior counter terrorism analyst Jeffrey Motes and Rear Admiral David Woods gave stipulated testimony regarding the detainee assessment briefs Manning shared with Wikileaks. They both admitted that some of the material in the documents had already been made public.
Vice Admiral Harword, deputy commander of US Central Command, gave testimony clarifying the classification categories US CENTCOM uses. US CENTCOM divides information into two categories: military plans and intelligence activities. Information classified TOP SECRET could cause “exceptionally grave damage” if released into the wrong hands. Information classified SECRET could cause “serious damage.” Information labeled CONFIDENTIAL could cause “damage.” Harword’s testimony clarified that the detainee assessment briefs contained “summaries” of information and data classified SECRET. That information included data on “circumstances of capture,” the detainees’ possessions at time of capture, and their terrorist activities, as well as information and data about members of other organizations and “methods and approaches for collecting intelligence.”
Louis Traviaso, who reviewed intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency and was a member of the Information Review Task Force, examined the contents of leaked documents that contained information on weapons and systems abilities.
Katharine Strobl, US CENTCOM contractor and software developer, entered stipulated testimony regarding her work reviewing CIA wire logs between October 2009 and May 2010. Maj. Ashden Fein read the testimony.
Staff Sgt. Peter Bigelow entered stipulated testimony regarding Manning’s use of a non-classified Internet Protocol network computer in the supply room at Forward Operating Base Hammer, where he was transferred to work on May 8, 2010. According to Bigelow’s testimony, Manning did not use this computer to search for information on Wikileaks or Julian Assange.
Live witness Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ronald Nixon from CYBERCOM testified regarding the global address list, containing the contact information of two 4-star generals in Iraq, which Manning allegedly downloaded. Nixon testified on the number of email addresses the list contained and who had access to the list.
Live witness Chief Warrant Officer 4 Armond Rouillard offered testimony regarding the monetary worth of the global address list. The charge regarding Manning’s alleged theft of this list states that it was worth over $1,000. Rouillard testified that he knew nothing about the demand for information of this nature on the black market, or how such demand might influence its monetary worth. He further testified that there were no regulations forbidding a solider from downloading the complete global address list.
The court will hear arguments regarding the defense’s evidence objections on June 18. A four-day recess will follow, so that the court can reach an agreement on 17 stipulated testimonies. Court will reconvene on June 25 to hear any further arguments regarding these testimonies.
Day Eight: Court Hears Arguments on Admissibility of Evidence
Day eight of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial was a short day for the court, which adjourned just after noon. The court heard arguments on whether two Wikileaks tweets gleaned from the WayBack Machine are to be admissible as evidence. The prosecution maintained that two tweets from Wikileaks, sent in January 2010 and May 2010, respectively, stand as evidence that Manning conspired with Wikileaks to publically disclose sensitive information. The prosecution believes that the tweets are evidence that Manning knew that Wikileaks was planning to release classified information.
The defense countered the Manning has not been charged with conspiracy and that Wikileaks’s intentions regarding and classified information have no bearing on Manning’s case. The defense also maintained that there is no evidence Manning ever saw the tweets in question or the “Most Wanted” list that the government says guided him in deciding which information to share with Wikileaks. The defense further argued that cached copies of Internet archives constitute hearsay, because they’re submitted to the WayBack Machine via third party. The judge expressed doubt that the authenticity of Internet archives on the WayBack Machine could be verified.
Court will reconvene on June 25.
Day Nine: Arguments over Motions for Judicial Notice
Day nine of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial consisted of arguments about motions for judicial notice filed by both the prosecution and the defense. The defense asked Judge Lind to take notice of Rear Admiral Donegan’s letter to the Secretary of the Army, in which he claimed that the Garani video didn’t contain classified information on the Army’s Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) that could aid the enemy. Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jon LaRue earlier testified, on day six of the proceedings, that this video did contain sensitive information that could aid the enemy.
The prosecution objected on the grounds that Rear Admiral Donegan’s letter expressed his opinion, not the facts of the matter. The defense maintained that, as the letter contained contradictory evidence, it remains important to the case.
Prosecutors stated and withdrew their objections to the defense’s submission of a transcript of the Garani video, Reuter’s FOIA request for a copy of the video, and CENTCOM’s response to that request. The prosecution also requested judicial notice of the Iraq and Afghan war logs, Army counterintelligence report, diplomatic cables, Garani video, and Guantanamo detainee assessment briefs, all released by WikiLeaks. The Army maintained that the publication of the documents is relevant because Pfc. Manning is charged with “wrongfully and wantonly caus[ing] to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the United States government.” The defense maintained that WikiLeaks’s receipt of the documents does not prove that Pfc. Manning leaked them.
Prosecutors further asked for judicial notice of the salaries of the service members who made the global address list and the “Gitmo files.” The salaries help establish the value of the government property that Pfc. Manning allegedly stole, which, the prosecution claims, was worth more than $1,000. The defense objected on the grounds that the Army has failed to establish how much time it took to make the files in question, thus their yearly salaries can’t be used to determine the worth of the documents.
Finally, prosecutors asked for judicial notice of Army Regulation 25-1, which discusses government property and the importance of keeping it private. Pfc. Manning is charged with violating section 25-2 of Army Regulations, but the government maintained that section 25-1 is relevant to the charges. The defense objected, saying that AR 25-1 was not relevant.
Judge Lind is expected to rule on these motions later this week. She’s also expected to rule on the admissibility of the Most Wanted list and the WikiLeaks tweets produced from the WayBack Machine.
Day Ten: Testimonies from Wisecarver and Shaver
Former Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) Charlie Wisecarver began day ten of the Manning court martial proceedings with live testimony on behalf of the prosecution. He described the founding of the Net-Centric Diplomacy (NCD) database, where the leaked diplomatic cables were held. According to his testimony, the NCD was started by the Defense Department after the 9/11 attacks under the name Horizontal Fusion. It was meant to disperse information among the SIPRNet community. Those granted access to the NCD database were given access to the whole thing; there were no restrictions placed on any individual section.
CIO Wisecarver further testified that 29 of the diplomatic cables released to WikiLeaks bore the tag “TERREP,” which stands for “terrorist reporting.” Manning has been charged with disclosing 75 diplomatic cables without proper authorization. Information regarding which specific cables he’s charged with releasing is classified.
According to CIO Wisecarver’s testimony, Manning’s unauthorized activities on the NCD database did not at any point render the database inaccessible to others who needed to use it. CIO Wisecarver testified that he did not know if there were no diplomatic cables containing the country’s “most closely held secrets.” He further testified that the NCD should not have contained any “top secret information,” although it may have contained information that could potentially be embarrassing to the Department of Defense.
The court read stipulated testimony from Gerald Mundy, former Intelligence and Resource Branch Manager at the State Department. He testified about the firewall logs showing Manning’s access of the NCD database. His testimony made it clear that Manning did not hack into the NCD database or use any tools to overcome its firewall protection.
After recessing for lunch, the court heard testimony regarding the forensic examination of network logs, firewall logs, dataflow logs, and other technical information. The court then entered closed session to hear testimony from Special Agent David Shaver regarding Specification 3 of Charge 2 that Manning faces under the Espionage Act. The closed session lasted about 45 minutes.
Final testimony from Special Agent David Shaver concerned Manning’s Internet searches for Wikileaks and searches related to Iraq. The prosecution and defense have reached an agreement regarding stipulated testimonies, which will begin to be heard on day 11 of the proceedings.
Day Eleven: Court Hears Testimony about WikiLeaks Tweets and Leaked Diplomatic Cables
Day eleven of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial began after lunch, when Special Agent Mark Mander gave testimony about the process he used to pull the WikiLeaks tweets from the WayBack Machine. Judge Lind questioned Special Agent Mander at length with an eye toward possibly authenticating the source of the tweets. No word on whether or not Judge Lind was ultimately satisfied about the authenticity of the tweets.
Stipulated testimonies were presented to the court from a number of State Department officials, including PDAS John Feeley, Amb. David Pearce, DAS James Moore, Amb. Stephen Seche, Amb. Marie Yavanovitch, Nicholas Murphy, PDAS H. Dean Pittman, Amb. Don Yanamoto, and Amb Joseph Yun. They contained lists of the US embassy cables Pfc. Manning allegedly leaked. More than 100 cable record numbers are entered into evidence – Pfc. Manning is charged with leaking 21 secret diplomatic cables and 96 confidential diplomatic cables.
Day Twelve: Judge Lind Admits Tweets into Evidence, Rejects “Most Wanted” List
The twelfth day of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial saw Judge Lind rule that the 2009 “Most Wanted” list was “not sufficiently” reliable and not “properly authenticated.” She refused to allow it to be admitted as evidence. Judge Lind did, however, rule that the WikiLeaks tweets pulled from the WayBack Machine have been properly authenticated, and she allowed them to be admitted as evidence. One tweet, in which WikiLeaks asked for “as many .mil email addresses as possible,” has been admitted as circumstantial evidence against Pfc. Manning relevant to the “aiding the enemy” charge and allegations that he purloined the global address list.
The court heard testimony from Brigadier Commander David Miller regarding his and his staff’s feelings when they learned that Manning leaked classified information. He described that atmosphere in the room at the time as funereal.
Brigadier Commander Miller further testified that, at the time of the leak, there were no restrictions on privates surfing the SIPRNet or downloading information from the SIPRNet. He testified that the Army prohibited the downloading of information from the SIPRNet only after the leak. He testified that the Pentagon continued to grant exceptions to specific personnel even after the leak.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ronald Nixon testified about the costs incurred in hosting the global address list, in order to support the charge that the list was worth more than $1,000 when Pfc. Manning allegedly stole it.
Day Thirteen: Court Hears Testimony on the Value of the Global Address List
As the thirteenth day of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial began, the court subpoenaed Brian Butler of Internet Archive (the WayBack Machine) to testify on the authenticity of the 2009 “Most Wanted” list, which the prosecution is still trying to get admitted as evidence. Butler told the court he could not appear until July 8. Defense attorney David Coombs told the court there was a chance he might be able to withdraw the defense’s objection to the authentication attempts after lunch, since he had had prior conversations with Butler suggesting that the WayBack Machine had been contracted by Stanford University to archive the WikiLeaks website.
The court heard classified testimony from Witness #3.
The “aiding the enemy” charges were clarified to include giving the enemy a “propaganda victory.”
The prosecution called to the stand Daniel Lewis, senior Defense Intelligence Agency officer, who testified about his experience in “valuing government information by foreign intelligence services.” One case he mentioned was that of George Trofimoff, an intelligence officer who sold 50,000 pages of classified information to the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, for a total of $250,000.
The defense objected to having Lewis’s testimony about other espionage cases put on the record. Judge Lind allowed the testimony to remain on the record as evidence of Lewis’s experience in valuing government secrets.
During cross-examination by the defense, Lewis revealed that he does not consider himself an expert when it comes to valuing government information. He conceded that he does not know what U.S. government secrets would be worth, and that the only people who might know are terrorist groups or foreign intelligence services. He testified, “They are the ones that decide its value to them.”
Following this testimony, the court went into a closed session during which the prosecution hoped to establish Daniel Lewis as an “expert” on counterintelligence and valuing government information. They also intended to seek testimony from Lewis on the value of the information that Manning allegedly stole. The prosecution has yet to establish that the stolen information was worth more than $1,000, which they must do in order to make the charges that Manning stole “a thing of value” stick.
Following the closed session, the court will place an unclassified summary on the record.
Day Fourteen: Prosecution Rests Its Case
The fourteenth day of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial opened late in the morning, with the court’s assertion that Daniel Lewis is qualified as an expert in counterintelligence, but not as an expert in valuing classified government information. After lunch, the court went into a closed session to hear testimony from Lewis regarding the alleged value of the global address list, the Gitmo files, and the other government information Manning allegedly leaked.
At 4:27 p.m., the Army rested its case. Court is in recess until July 8, when the defense begins its case.
Day Fifteen: Defense Begins its Case
The defense began its case on the fifteenth day of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial. They first presented the entire “Collateral Murder” Garani air strike video. Later in the proceedings it was revealed that the defense had only intended to show the first 20 minutes of the video to the court, but the Army asked the court to see the entire 39 minute video.
Court sketch artist Clark Stoeckley told the media that the government had raised two objections to the playing of the Garani air strike video in court – one, that they did not think it was relevant, which was overturned; and two, that the defense should be obliged to play the entire video.
The court was asked to compare the video with the transcript in The Good Soldiers, a book by David Finkel. His transcript of the first 20 minutes of the video was entered into evidence.
The defense also filed four motions for a finding of “not guilty” on specific charges leveled against Manning. The government may respond to these charges any time before July 11. The defense moved for a finding of “not guilty” on the “aiding the enemy” charge against Manning, a “not guilty” finding on the charge that he overstepped his authorization to use government computers, a “not guilty” finding on the charge that he stole a “thing of value,” and a “not guilty” finding regarding the charges relating to his alleged theft of the global address list.
The defense called for its first witness Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Ehresman, an intelligence analyst specialist whose responsibility was to evaluate the intelligence products Manning’s facility produced. Defense attorney David Coombs cross-examined him on the permitted uses of executable files, copying information to a disc, and accessing information.
It was established that Manning worked as an analyst on “future operations,” analyzing trends and identifying patterns to predict what attacks might occur and what tactics the enemy might use. The defense asked CW2 Ehresman to testify about the SIGACTS, also known as the Iraq or Afghanistan War Logs. According to CW2 Ehresman, these were “just historic references” used to identify trends; Manning did not include information about how military intelligence personnel used these documents when he released them. This is crucial to Manning’s case.
Under cross-examination from Maj. Ashden Fein, CW2 Ehresman testified that SIGACTS, which are normally unclassified, may be classified if they include analysis of the information.
In answer to the charge that Manning “exceeded authorized access on his computer,” the defense asked CW2 Ehresman to testify that there was no prohibition against running a program or an executable file from a CD.
Captain Steven Lim testified that he knows nothing of any WikiLeaks information in the hands of the “enemy,” other than what he’s heard about from the news media.
Sgt. David Sadtler testified that Manning was the go-to person among Brigade staff for information about “what was going on in the world.”
Lauren McNamara, a transgender woman who chatted with Manning online from February to August 2009 under her former name, Zachary Antolak, took the stand. The defense moved to admit records of her chats with Manning into evidence, but the prosecution objected on the grounds that the chats were “hearsay.”
Col. Morris Davis took the stand. The defense successfully established Col. Davis as an expert on Gitmo detainee policy, qualified to testify on the nature of detainee assessments Manning is charged with releasing.
Day Sixteen: Court Hears Testimony Classified Status of Gitmo Files
Col. Morris Davis, who was previously established as an expert on Guantanamo detainee policy, took the stand again to start the sixteenth day of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial. The defense asked Col. Davis to testify on the procedures he used to review the detainee assessment files Manning is accused of sending to WikiLeaks in violation of the Espionage Act. Col. Davis pointed out the publically available information in the so-called Gitmo Files, the detainee assessment briefs that Manning is charged with illegally releasing. He also looked at files from the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, which assess whether prisoners in Guantanamo are considered “enemy combatants,” and at files from the Administrative Review Boards. He further testified regarding The Guantanamo Files, a book by Andy Worthington, and Road to Guantanamo, a film directed by Michael Winterbottom.
The defense moved for the documents Col. Davis used in his review of the Gitmo files to be entered into evidence, so that the judge could better understand which parts of the Gitmo files are publically available. The Army asked to review these files, of which Col. Davis highlighted many parts, in order to determine if they might object to having them entered into evidence. The government may object to having these files entered into evidence on the grounds that publically available information is not relevant to the charge that Manning violated the Espionage Act. The defense retorted that publically available information would be relevant to the charges if the government had not taken appropriate measures to protect sensitive information or respond to its release.
The defense filed a motion to dismiss charges of “aiding the enemy,” on the grounds that the government has failed to prove that Manning knew that he was releasing information to the enemy by giving it to WikiLeaks.
Cassius Hall of U.S. Army Intelligence & Security Command looked over 102 SIGACTs and testified that 60 of them contained open source information. He testified regarding the nature of the information provided in SIGACTs, saying that it’s not very detailed, and contains information that might also be found in Defense Department press releases.
One of the detainee assessments Manning is charged with releasing belongs to a detainee who was recently the subject of a significant Supreme Court ruling regarding habeas corpus rights. Four of the detainees were transferred prior to Col. Davis’s becoming chief Guantanamo prosecutor. One was released in January 2005 and may be Moazzam Begg. One is still being held at Guantanamo but will soon be transferred to an undisclosed location.
Defense security expert Charles Ganiel testified regarding the diplomatic cables Manning is accused of releasing. He “felt a lot of information was already in the public domain.”
The defense and prosecution will review the diplomatic cables, which are classified, but which will be entered into evidence. The classified information will be compared to publically available information.
Day seventeen of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial began when the court established Harvard University Professor Yochai Benkler as an expert on the networked Fourth Estate. He testified on WikiLeaks’s place in the Fourth Estate and was of the opinion that it was engaged in legitimate journalism, and not a likely source of information for enemies of the United States. Prof. Benkler further testified that Osama bin Laden only took interest in the documents shared by WikiLeaks because U.S. government officials spread word that the organization was sharing information that could be of use to terrorists and enemies of the United States. He then gave the judge a history of WikiLeaks as a media institution, including a history of the documents it released as well as an overview of its reputation.
The government objected to questions from the defense on WikiLeaks’s reputation after it released the documents it received from Manning. Judge Lind overruled the objection on the grounds that the nature of WikiLeaks as a journalistic institution has bearing on whether or not its release of information could be considered reckless. The defense argued that the government seems to be basing its case on portraying WikiLeaks and Julian Assange as “bad,” and that WikiLeaks was only discredited as a legitimate journalistic institution after it began to release the information it received from Manning. The government claimed that there’s no reason to believe Manning knew that WikiLeaks was considered a reputable, legitimate institution of journalism. Nevertheless, Prof. Benkler’s testimony could clear Manning of the “aiding the enemy” charge.
Judge Lind overruled objections from the government and allowed Prof. Benkler to testify on how the U.S. government reacted to the release of Manning’s information on WikiLeaks. The defense acknowledges that Manning released the information and that he understands that this was wrong, but maintains that “the release was not wanton.”
Prof. Benkler testified regarding incorrect reports of WikiLeaks releasing 260,000 diplomatic cables. He further testified that Defense Secretary Gates seemed “overwrought” in his response.
The defense rested its case. The government will make a rebuttal case. Argument on the scope of the government’s rebuttal case will begin on Monday at 3:00 p.m. EST. The court will also hear arguments regarding the motions for “not guilty” findings on several of the charges leveled against Manning.
Day Eighteen: Court Hears Arguments Regarding “Not Guilty” Motions, Army Prepares Its Rebuttal Case
Day eighteen of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial saw the beginning of arguments between the defense and prosecution regarding the prosecution’s yet-to-begin rebuttal case, access over witness statements related to testimony made during the trial, and the four motions for a finding of “not guilty” made by the defense, on seven of the charges leveled against Pfc. Manning. The defense began the proceedings late in the afternoon, with the argument that Manning could only be said to have exceeded his “authorized access” on his computer if he was in violation of an “access restriction.” The prosecution argued that Manning violated his authorized access when he used WGET to improve his download speeds.
Judge Lind asked, “Did he access the cables using WGET or did he already have access to the cables and used WGET to download them?” The defense maintained that WGET was “not even designed to exceed authorized access,” and that Manning’s use of the software therefore didn’t amount to a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The prosecution presented no evidence that Manning overcame any firewalls or other protective barriers in order to access the files; it was established that Manning was already granted access to the information. The prosecution also admitted that WGET didn’t allow Manning to bypass protective barriers or obtain information to which he did not already have access.
The court next heard arguments regarding the motion of a finding of “not guilty” for the charge of “aiding the enemy.” The prosecution admitted that it does not claim that Manning “should have known” that he would “aid the enemy” by leaking classified files to WikiLeaks. However, the prosecution does claim that Pfc. Manning published “information that he knew the enemy was seeking on WikiLeaks.”
The defense accused the government of “punish[ing] people for getting information out to the press” by charging Manning with “aiding the enemy,” and that the government is using such charges to “put a hammer down on any whistleblower or anybody who wants to put information out.” If convicted of “aiding the enemy,” Manning faces life without parole. The court is expected to rule on these and other charges Thursday, July 18.
The court also heard arguments regarding the prosecution’s rebuttal case and its expected scope. The prosecution wanted the book, Good Soldiers by David Finkel, admitted into evidence, because it claimed that Manning would have gained “knowledge of what should and should not have been released” from reading the book. However, there is no evidence that Pfc. Manning read the whole book.
The prosecution would also like to challenge Prof. Yochai Benkler’s testimony regarding WikiLeaks’s status as a journalistic organization. As the defense pointed out, the prosecution should have challenged Prof. Benkler’s testimony at the time that he gave it. Judge Lind asked the prosecution, “Do you mean that you do no preparation and you wait until you get the relevance ruling and then you start [preparing to contest the testimony]?” Judge Lind was able to confirm that the prosecution didn’t anticipate or prepare to contest Prof. Benkler’s testimony because they thought they would be able to block it even after she ruled it relevant. She denied the prosecution’s request to call a witness to refute Prof. Benkler’s testimony.
Day Nineteen: “Aiding the Enemy” Charge Stands; Government Begins Rebuttal
Day nineteen of the Bradley Manning court martial began with Judge Lind’s denial of the defense’s motions for a finding of “not guilty” on the “aiding the enemy” and “exceeding authorized access” charges leveled against Manning. The judge was required to rule on these motions after considering the evidence in a “light most favorable to the prosecution.”
This is in accordance with military rules regarding the consideration of defense motions of a finding of “not guilty.” The rules apply only to the consideration of defense motions of a finding of “not guilty,” and not to her consideration of the entire body of evidence when making a final ruling. When she makes her ultimate ruling in the case, Judge Lind will consider whether or not the totality of the evidence against Manning is enough to warrant a conviction.
Defense attorneys argued regarding the motion for a finding of “not guilty” on charges that he stole information of value from the government. Their argument hinges on the language of the government’s accusation, namely, that Manning has been accused of stealing “databases,” rather than information. Manning did not steal any databases. According to the defense, the Army should have charged Manning with stealing copies of classified records from databases, not with stealing the databases themselves.
The prosecution responded that the information Manning stole could not have existed without the databases in which it was stored. They further alleged that Manning deprived the government of classified information that could have proved useful to it.
Defense attorney David Coombs maintained that the Army has not proven that Manning stole anything from the USFI Global Address List; if he stole any information, he took it from the GAL for his division. He maintains that there’s no evidence that the addresses found on Manning’s computer were taken from the USFI GAL, that the value of this information has not been established or proven, and that Manning should therefore be found not guilty of stealing information of value from the GAL.
Following these arguments, the government began its rebuttal case. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Ehresman took the stand to discuss how programs could be run from CDs. Jason Milliman, former field software engineer at FOB Hammer in Baghdad, took the stand to give testimony regarding .EXE files and how Manning might have used WGET to speed up downloads of diplomatic cables.
Special Agent David Shaver gave testimony on how computers and WGET function. The government asked Special Agent Shaver to look for incriminating tweets on Manning’s computer, and it was revealed that he had not done this at all until a few days ago.
The Army attempted to have Manning’s email to the New York Times, which he sent in April 2010 after the release of the Garani airstrike video, admitted into the body of evidence. The Army maintained that Manning’s attempt to share information with the New York Times implied that he did not think of WikiLeaks as a legitimate journalistic organization. The defense objected on the grounds that this message had no “bearing on whether or not WikiLeaks is a journalistic organization.” Judge Lind read the email and sustained the defense’s objection. The email was not admitted into evidence. Court was subsequently adjourned.
Day Twenty-One: Preliminary Rulings Before Defense Begins Closing Arguments
Before closing arguments in Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial began on Thursday, July 25, Judge Lind gave rulings on some of the defense’s motions for acquittal. She denied the motion for a finding of not guilty on charges that Pfc. Manning stole valuable information. She further ruled that the Army cannot use the cost of data management, software and infrastructure to prove Manning stole valuable property from the government. The judge also rejected the defense’s argument that the Army was charging Pfc. Manning with the theft of five databases rather than the information in the five databases.
The Army began its closing argument at around 11:00 a.m. on Thursday. Major Ashden Fein delivered the closing argument. He claimed that “Bradley Manning was armed with stark knowledge of what would happen if classified information materials were compromised,” including knowledge that he, Manning, could face prosecution on criminal charges.
Information that Pfc. Manning saved on his hard drive, but never leaked, figured in the Army’s closing argument; it stood as proof, according to Major Fein, that Pfc. Manning knew that “enemies of the US used the Internet and WikiLeaks to gather information to be used against this country.” Pfc. Manning’s training as an analyst would have given him the expertise he needed to assess how the enemy assesses us, according to the government.
The prosecution claimed that Pfc. Manning devoted hours to finding “as much information as possible” for WikiLeaks, and that several military organizations had concluded and reported that WikiLeaks was a threat to national security.
The Army argued that Pfc. Manning released the Garani airstroke video because he thought it was “cool.” Major Fein then repeatedly argued that Pfc. Manning acted as he did to secure fame and notoriety for himself.
Major Fein then argued that Pfc. Manning “deliberately placed all soldiers in Iraq at personal risk” when he allegedly stole the global address list. He further suggested that Pfc. Manning sought “worldwide anarchy” in sharing the diplomatic cables with WikiLeaks, and that he “thought he was smart enough to know what was happening in the world” when he leaked the diplomatic cables. The diplomatic cables were “closely guarded to enable the US to conduct its foreign policy effectively,” according to the prosecution. Major Fein repeatedly accused Pfc. Manning of holding anarchist views and of being a hacker in his closing arguments.
Day Twenty-Two: Defense Begins Closing Arguments
The defense gave its closing arguments on Friday, July 26, beginning at about 11:00 a.m. Defense attorney David Coombs gave the closing arguments, which focused largely on what he called the “child logic” of the Army’s case, as well as its inconsistencies. Coombs accused the government of making up a story to support its allegations against Pfc. Manning.
Coombs began the defense’s closing arguments by playing the airstrike video for the court and elaborating on Pfc. Manning’s thoughts as he watched the video, in which nine civilians were killed. He accused Pfc. Manning of being the “worst employee of all time for WikiLeaks,” because he, Manning, searched for only four of the 78 items on WikiLeaks’s “Most Wanted” list of 2009 – the list that the Army claims guided Pfc. Manning in his search for classified documents to release.
The defense further argued that “no one truly understood” what the rules were regarding the use of executable files, games, music or movies when Pfc. Manning was working as an analyst for the military. The Army’s valuation of the information Pfc. Manning leaked, which is necessary to make the charges that he stole a thing of value stick, could weaken the Army’s charges that Pfc. Manning violated the Espionage Act.
In answer to charges that Pfc. Manning violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charges, David Coombs remarked, “There’s no such thing as an implicit access restriction.” Daniel Lewis, who gave testimony on the value of the information Pfc. Manning leaked, could only give his guess as to the value of the information, Coombs pointed out. Coombs finished his closing argument by pointing out that Lewis testified in spite of his lack of experience in the valuation of information, and in spite of the court having not qualified him as an expert in that area.
The Army began its rebuttal argument at about 3:45 p.m. Major Fein, giving the rebuttal argument, claims that Pfc. Manning could have take advantage of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act to “reach out to a congressman about abuses he allegedly saw,” and that he should have gone to the press only as a “last resort” after exhausting the chain of command. Major Fein stated repeatedly that, when Pfc. Manning published classified information on WikiLeaks, he knew that the enemy was a member of the public.
Judge Lind declared court closed at 5:40 p.m. She is deliberating on a verdict, which is not expected until at least Monday.