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Intro: "The civilian lawyer for Bradley Manning, the Army private who allegedly leaked tens of thousands of classified US government documents to WikiLeaks, is seeking to question the severity of the leak by requesting the government's own internal damage assessments that reportedly contradict statements that Manning irreparably damaged national security. Manning's defense attorney, David E. Coombs, is attempting to get evidence from the government to defend Manning in his upcoming pre-trial hearing on December 16, but says the government is stonewalling him."

Protesters display 'I Am Bradley Manning' posters at a rally in support of Manning. (photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Protesters display 'I Am Bradley Manning' posters at a rally in support of Manning. (photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)



Feds Withholding Evidence Favorable to Bradley Manning

By Kim Zetter, Wired Magazine

29 November 11

 

he civilian lawyer for Bradley Manning, the Army private who allegedly leaked tens of thousands of classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks, is seeking to question the severity of the leak by requesting the government's own internal damage assessments that reportedly contradict statements that Manning irreparably damaged national security.

Manning's defense attorney, David E. Coombs, is attempting to get evidence from the government to defend Manning in his upcoming pre-trial hearing on Dec. 16, but says the government is stonewalling him.

"The defense has repeatedly requested the below discovery in this case, but the government has consistently responded with a blanket denial of the defense request," Coombs wrote in the partially redacted filing.

The evidence Coombs seeks includes copies of internal reports conducted by task forces assessing the damage from and the classification levels of the 250,000 State Department diplomatic cables and 500,000 classified Iraq and Afghanistan war field reports allegedly leaked by Manning to WikiLeaks.

Published information about the various reports put them at odds with each other, Coombs notes. One assessment conducted by the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that all of the information allegedly leaked was dated, represented low-level opinions, or was already commonly known due to previous public disclosures, while an official at another government office indicated that the leaks had caused damage to national security.

Coombs wants to use the DIA report, along with another unpublished one apparently commissioned by the White House, to ban witnesses from describing the leaks as more damaging than these official reports found them to be.

Manning is charged with 22 violations, which could get him up to life in prison if convicted.

The filing also sheds light on other likely avenues Coombs will use to mitigate or challenge the charges against Manning, including questioning the actions of President Barack Obama and Manning's betrayer, Adrian Lamo.

For instance, Coombs seeks "known evidence tending to diminish credibility of any government witness including, but not limited to, prior convictions under Military Rule of Evidence (MRE) 609, evidence of other character, conduct, or bias bearing on witness credibility under MRE 608. Specifically, the defense requests the name and contact information for any law enforcement agent working with -."

The name is blacked out in the document, but could be an indication that the defense will seek to discredit Lamo, a former hacker and prosecution witness who turned Manning in to authorities after Manning allegedly confessed to Lamo in chat logs that he leaked thousands of government documents to WikiLeaks.

In a section of the document that refers to the White House, the document seeks information about any assessment "given by any member of the government to -". Although the identity of the person receiving the assessments is redacted in the document, a subsequent sentence seems to indicate it refers to President Barack Obama.

"The defense requests any e-mail, report, assessment, directive, or discussion by - to the Department of Defense concerning this case in order to determine the presence of unlawful command influence," the sentence reads.

At a press conference last week, members of the Bradley Manning Support Network, which has raised money for Manning's defense, argued that public comments that President Obama made earlier this year suggesting that Manning is guilty constituted illegal command influence on the military court from the nation's commander in chief.

Obama told an audience in April, "If I was to release stuff, information that I'm not authorized to release, I'm breaking the law."

"I can't imagine a juror who wants to have a future in the military ... going against the statement of [guilty] made by his or her commander-in-chief," said Kevin Zeese, a legal advisor to the Bradley Manning Support Network. Zeese was referring to the military judge and jury who will preside over the hearing and subsequent court martial of Manning and could be swayed to convict based on Obama's statements.

Coombs' filing also addresses issues around Manning's alleged mistreatment in prison, asking the government to hand over copies of all audio and video surveillance of the visitation booths at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia, and at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, where Manning was moved earlier this year. Coombs requested a video the military apparently took of Manning when he was ordered to surrender his clothing while in custody earlier at Quantico.

"When PFC Manning was being ordered to surrender his clothes as part of the unnecessary suicide risk, the Brig made the decision to videotape this event along with an interrogation of PFC Manning by - and others," Coombs writes. "The defense believes the video will support PFC Manning's claim of unlawful pretrial punishment. The government has yet to respond to the defense request."

The request also appears to solve some of the mystery behind two of the charges against the former Army intelligence analyst related to unauthorized software he's accused of installing on classified government networks during the time he allegedly siphoned hundreds of thousands of documents off that classified network. Manning allegedly installed the software twice on Army computers connected to SIPRnet, the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network that has been identified as the original source of WikiLeaks' large-scale U.S. releases.

The charges never identified the nature of the software, but last April, an Army spokeswoman clarified the charges for Threat Level. "The allegations ... refer to data-mining software," spokeswoman Shaunteh Kelly wrote in an e-mail, noting that the two allegations related to "the same data-mining software used on two different dates."

Kelly, however, declined to identify the exact data-mining program that was used, writing that "Identifying at this point the specific software program used may potentially compromise the ongoing criminal investigation."

If Manning installed data-mining software on his SIPRnet workstation, it could potentially strengthen the government's case against him if it can be shown that the software helped him search for and steal documents. But "data-mining software" is a broad term for any number of different kinds of software programs that collect data.

In order to make the case that Manning wasn't the only soldier to install unauthorized programs on classified networks, Coombs requested forensic images of each computer from the Tactical Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (T-SCIF) and the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq, where Manning allegedly downloaded the data that was passed to WikiLeaks. Coombs is hoping to prove "it was common for soldiers to add unauthorized computer programs" to government systems, that apparently helped the soldiers do their work.

Among the programs soldiers commonly installed, he writes, were mIRC (an Internet Relay Chat client for Windows); Wget (a web crawler that improves activity on slow or unstable network connections); GEOTRANS (an application that allows a user to collect and use geographic coordinates from a variety of systems, maps and data sets); and Grid Extractor (an executable program that extracts MGRS grids from text documents and imports them into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet).

Both of the last two programs mentioned, GEOTRANS and Grid Extractor, could conceivably be classified as data-mining programs, though it's not known if either of these programs was specifically installed by Manning or if one of them is the basis for the government's charges against Manning. If the defense can show that these programs were commonly used by Manning and other soldiers to aid in their daily work, this could weaken those particular charges against Manning.

 

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+21 # cadan 2011-11-29 09:23
The neocons and their servants are very serious about pushing forward their wars against Arabs and Muslims. They are much more serious than those who pushed the war against Viet Nam.

I hope that Bradley Manning can get the freedom he deserves, and that we can get release from pursuing our crusades.

But Manning may very well become a martyr, and the enemies of the people aligned against him may get away with their crimes.
 
 
+13 # LessSaid 2011-11-29 10:17
The government all inclusive defense; "We can't give up information and he is guilty in the interest of National Security.
 
 
+18 # Billsy 2011-11-29 11:42
If ever there were someone worthy of a presidential pardon, it's Bradley Manning. He's guilty only of having a conscience.
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2011-11-30 09:25
Apparently BUSH and CHANEY can give out secret information and not be prosecuted, The CIA operative, but it seems that their is another double standard here and I think its called "Selective Prosecution" which is illegal under our system of justice,
 
 
+10 # annagolinska 2011-11-29 12:53
Our Republic was funded on a God given Natural Laws.
Proof that the content of leaked documents revealed "illegal activity" and exposed actions aimed against interest of People of The Republic is ultimately a proof of Manning’s innocence.
Furthermore, Manning as a Citizen of The Republic would be breaking Natural Law of The Republic, if having the knowledge of actions that were contrary to People of The Republic interest, NOT reported them directly.
Natural Law is the principal law for interpretation of any other law and must overwrite any other law.
What has happened so far in Manning case is one more proof that our Justice was kidnapped by injustice rough groups of corrupted governmental appointees and illegal power brokers?
Ask yourself: How can we bring to justice injustice system of corrupted appointees and illegal power brokers?
Manning’s case will show how weak or how strong is our faith in The Republic Natural Law.
Take a good look at his face. His face tells you all you need to know. INNOCENT!
 
 
+4 # AMLLLLL 2011-11-29 15:38
When Obama spoke on this matter I recall shaking my head and wondering what he did in law school besides learning to cover his petudi. I'm sure his mother is anything but proud.
 
 
+3 # Magars 2011-11-29 21:14
Quoting AMLLLLL:
When Obama spoke on this matter I recall shaking my head and wondering what he did in law school besides learning to cover his petudi. I'm sure his mother is anything but proud.

I'm glad that a lot of people noticed that at that moment. What a disgrace for the judicial system , the military and for the person that one day promised to change the way that people work in Washington .
 
 
+6 # AMLLLLL 2011-11-29 15:50
Since when have government agencies been anything but political? We do have political prisoners, even though the gov't. says otherwise. Godspeed, Bradley.
 
 
+3 # Magars 2011-11-29 21:03
Quoting AMLLLLL:
Since when have government agencies been anything but political? We do have political prisoners, even though the gov't. says otherwise. Godspeed, Bradley.

Yes,we have political prisoners in USA,but our corrupted judicial system is hiding it from us .
 
 
+3 # Magars 2011-11-29 21:00
I love that part " the public comment that President Obama made early this year suggesting that Manning is guity ,constituted illegal command influence on the military court from the nation' commander in chief "
Members of the military court will follow their "commander in chief" unless there are honorable people there that we honor justice.
 
 
0 # AMLLLLL 2011-12-01 16:21
Yeah, Obama spoke as if he'd gotten a ticket for jaywalking, which in reality, you could still go to court and fight. Manning will get no such justice.
 
 
+2 # iris 2011-11-30 10:17
whatever happened to presumed innocent untill....? but the government withholding evidence that could clear him!!!!!! There has never been found any connection between him and Assange. Lots of gi's using same computers, and Obama having to nail someone.. ( anyone will do) sounds like a workers comp style kangaroo court to me. iris
 

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