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Entries in Bradley Manning (34)

Friday
Mar012013

WikiLeaks: Manning Leaked Information to Spark 'Domestic Debate'

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Though he has just pleaded guilty to certain charges, the Army private in the WikiLeaks case will still face a military trial.  Pleading guilty to 10 lesser charges, Pfc. Bradley Manning read a statement in court Thursday, saying he wished to embarrass, but not to damage, the U.S.  

Manning said his decision to go through with the largest leak of classified information ever was intended to spark what he called a "domestic debate" about foreign policy.  

The charges he has pleaded guilty to could land Manning in prison for up to 20 years. Military prosecutors say they intend to pursue 12 more serious counts, including "aiding the enemy," which could carry a life sentence.

Manning's trial is expected to begin June 3.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan082013

Judge in Bradley Manning Case Reduces Accused WikiLeaker's Potential Sentence by 16 Weeks

Alex Wong/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- The judge in the case against PFC Bradley Manning has ruled that the conditions of his pre-trial confinement at the Marine Brig in Quantico, Va., was “more rigorous than necessary” and “excessive."  She has granted him a 112-day sentencing credit, which equates to 16 weeks, if he is convicted.   
 
At Fort Meade Tuesday, Col. Denise Lind refused to dismiss the case against Manning’s trial as his attorneys had requested.  The pre-trial motions hearing, where Manning made his first public comments, was intended to prove that his treatment at Quantico was unlawful and merited the dismissal of the case against Manning.  The realistic expectation had been that Lind wouldn’t agree to that but would likely give him some credit for time served, and that’s exactly what happened Tuesday.
 
Manning was detained at Quantico from July 2010 to April 2011 after being transferred from Kuwait.  During a pre-trial motions hearing in late November, Manning’s attorneys detailed how he had been kept unnecessarily on extended suicide and prevention of injury watches.  As part of those watches he was confined to a cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing.  These conditions persisted for months even though his psychiatrists said they weren’t necessary.
 
Lind reportedly said Tuesday that Quantico officials didn’t intend to punish Manning by subjecting him to those restrictions, but rather to ensure his safety and security.
 
During the pre-trial hearing in November the judge accepted a request by Manning’s attorney to possibly work out a plea deal for seven lesser charges of the 22 he faces.  If he decides to do so he’d face 16 years in prison for pleading guilty to those charges, but still face trial for the remaining charges against him.

Manning’s trial is slated to start March 6.
 
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov302012

Wikileaks Suspect Bradley Manning Chokes Up at Hearing

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- PFC Bradley Manning choked back tears during a second day of testimony at a hearing before his military trial as he claimed he didn’t tell his family about the conditions of his confinement at the Marine brig at Quantico, Va., because he did not want them to worry.

He also expressed concern that doing so could lead to an end to visiting privileges for his family.

This week’s pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Md., outside of Washington, D.C., was focused only on Manning’s nine-month confinement at the Marine brig at Quantico.  Details about the hundreds of thousands of classified documents Manning is alleged to have leaked to Wikileaks will not be discussed until his trial, which is scheduled to get underway on Jan. 28.

On Friday, Army prosecutors asked Manning why he had not availed himself of multiple opportunities to complain about the Maximum Custody and Prevention of Injury status he experienced during his nine-month stay at Quantico in 2010-2011.

Army prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fein pointed to weekly detailed forms with his Army supervisors, where Manning routinely categorized the guards and facilities at the brig as “very professional.”  The forms did not detail any of the maximum security conditions Manning talked about on Thursday, the first time he has spoken publicly during his almost two-and-a-half years in pre-trial detention.

Fein also read through transcripts of audio recordings made during the visits to the brig by Manning’s family and friends, when he did not complain about the circumstances of his detention to those closest to him.

In one exchange six weeks after his arrival at Quantico, Manning said of his treatment at the brig,  ”it’s pretty good, it’s not bad, it’s not Oz” – a reference to the TV show centered around a maximum security prison.

Manning did not challenge any of Fein’s quotes and concurred with his assessment that he “kept reassuring others you were OK.”

Manning told Fein that he knew that his conversations were being recorded and, “I wasn’t going to talk to anyone in recording circumstances.”

Later, Manning choked back tears and his face grew red when he explained further to his attorney, David Coombs, that, “I didn’t want my family to be worried about my conditions.”

He added, “I didn’t want to bring it up.  I didn’t want them to have to experience much more of that.”

Manning’s brief show of emotion was in contrast to the upbeat, self-assured composure he maintained through two days of testimony.

The former Army intelligence analyst explained that he was concerned brig officials might end his family’s visits if he said something wrong.

“It was understood we weren’t supposed to talk about what was going inside the facility… to visitors for both security … and transport issues,” he said.  "I didn’t want to get into the details because I figured that would be a good reason to end those for security reasons.”

In testimony on Thursday, Manning admitted to suicidal thoughts when he was detained in Kuwait and acknowledged having fashioned a noose from a bed sheet. On Friday, prosecutors produced the peach-colored noose and Manning confirmed it was the one he had made.

Manning’s state of mind when he was transferred from Kuwait to Quantico in July, 2010 had a major impact on the rest of his detention there.  Required to fill out a questionnaire when he arrived at Quantico, Manning said he sarcastically wrote, “always planning, never acting,” when asked if he ever had suicidal thoughts.

He said he’d forgotten about the entry when brig staff raised it with him at a meeting on Jan. 21, 2011, when he was seeking a downgrade from the Prevention of Injury status he had been in since arriving from Kuwait.

But Fein asked how that could be possible given that three days before he had openly spoken about the written comments with brig officials during an incident that led to his being placed on suicide risk watch.

Fein then described how Manning’s awareness of the comments had been seen in videos played Thursday by Manning’s attorney.

A sheepish Manning told Fein, “I’d forgotten about that.”

“In that three-day period you’d forgotten about it?” asked Fein.

“Yes,” said Manning.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov292012

Accused WikiLeaker Bradley Manning Speaks Publicly for First Time

Alex Wong/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Private First Class Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified and confidential military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, took the stand in a military court Thursday to make his first public statements since his arrest in 2010.

Manning appeared confident and animated at a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland as he described the mental breakdowns and extreme depression he suffered during his first year in detention, from cells in Iraq and Kuwait to the Marine base at Quantico in Virginia. Within weeks of his arrest, Manning said, he became convinced he was going to die in custody.

"I was just a mess. I was really starting to fall apart," the 24-year-old former Army intelligence analyst said. Manning said he didn't remember an incident while in Kuwait where he bashed his head into a wall or another where he fashioned a noose out of a bed sheet as his civilian attorney, David Coombs, said he had, but Manning did say he felt he was "going to die... [in] an animal cage."

"I certainly contemplated [suicide]. There's no means, even if the noose... there'd be nothing I could do with it. Nothing to hang it on. It felt... pointless," he said. Manning had been on suicide watch since late June 2010, a month after his initial arrest in Baghdad.

Manning faces 22 charges related to his alleged use of his access to government computers to download and pass along a trove of confidential government documents and videos to WikiLeaks, including the 2010 mass release of 250,000 State Department cables detailing years of private U.S. diplomatic interactions with the governments and citizens the world over. The unprecedented document dump became known as "Cablegate."

Earlier this month Coombs wrote on his blog that Manning was willing to plead guilty to some lesser offenses. On Thursday the military judge in the case said eight lesser charges could be reviewed by Manning's defense attorneys for a potential plea deal, but a response likely won't be determined until December.

The most serious charge Manning now faces, aiding the enemy, could bring a penalty of life in prison should he be found guilty.

Manning's defense has argued for all charges to be dropped, citing a perceived breach of Manning's right to speedy trial and his "unlawful pretrial punishment" while in custody at the Marine brig in Quantico.

But in Thursday's hearing, Manning described his time in custody prior to his stay at Quantico as an ordeal of its own.

He recounted an incident in Baghdad when he fainted from the heat in his cell. Later in Kuwait, Manning said he was initially given phone privileges he used to call an aunt and friend in the United States, but that privilege was taken away a short time later.

After his alarming breakdown in June 2010, Manning told a mental health specialist that he really "didn't want to die, but [he] just wanted to get out of the cage," saying he believed his life had "just sunk."

Manning was given medication that improved his mood to the point that the young soldier felt he "started to flatten out" and resigned himself to "riding out" whatever was coming his way.

After he had been held in Kuwait, Manning said he was "elated" when he learned he was being transferred back to America. He had feared being sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba or to a U.S. facility in Djibouti in Africa.

"I didn't think I was going to set foot on American soil for a long time," he said.

Once at Quantico Manning was still on suicide watch for two weeks. After that ended, he remained on maximum custody and prevention of injury status, which required strict vigilant monitoring of his behavior. He remained in this status for the duration of his nine-month stay at Quantico. Testimony presented at this week's pre-trial hearing showed that psychiatrists treating Manning repeatedly assessed that he was no longer a suicide risk and should not remain on prevention of injury status.

Manning said he spent 21 to 23 hours a day in his cell. He was allowed 20 minutes in the yard to soak up some sunshine and said he was only allowed to sit on his bed with crossed legs if his guards allowed it. His feet were in restraints and he could not rest against the walls.

He was once again placed on suicide watches in January and March, 2011 following comments to his brig guards that indicated to them that he might be suicidal. During the March incident Manning's underwear was taken away from him and he slept naked for a few nights and was required to stand naked at attention one morning.

During Thursday's testimony Manning demonstrated the dimensions of his cell that Coombs had marked on the courtroom carpet with masking tape. He also demonstrated the suicide prevention blanket and smock issued to him during those incidents.

Manning drew laughter from spectators in the courtroom when he described some of the behavior he exhibited in his cramped quarters to fight the boredom. He described the mirror in his cell as "the most entertaining thing in there. I spent a lot of time there." When Coombs asked why, Manning replied "boredom, sheer out of my mind boredom."

That episode as well as others were documented by brig officials and base commanders as erratic behavior.

The trial against Manning is set to begin in late January, should the defense fail to succeed in getting the charges dropped.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun072012

Bradley Manning Trial: Lawyers Argue to Drop Some Charges

Alex Wong/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Bradley Manning sat in the Ft. Meade military courtroom Thursday wearing a new pair of clear, thin glasses and was seemingly engaged as his lawyers argued in pretrial motions that some of the charges against him should be dropped. They also asked current and former State Department employees about their client’s alleged involvement in Wikileaks.

At least 20 supporters donning “truth” shirts sat behind him and throughout the courtroom.

Yesterday, the defense argued that the government was purposefully “padding discovery,” giving more pages to defense lawyers than necessary to hide where the important information was located.

The judge denied this motion, saying that discovery pages were “voluminous” but not purposefully padded. The court ruled that although material will have to continually be turned over to the defense, the government does not have to highlight where in the material information that may be pertinent to the defense is located.

Bradley’s defense called two witnesses from the State Department this morning as part of their discovery motion. The first witness, former State Department Director of the Office of Management Policy Right Sizing and Innovation Policy Marguerite Coffey, talked about efforts at the State Department to beef up information security, particularly on the use of “thumb drives.”

Defense lead, David Coombs, wanted to know where in government documents he could find the minutes of certain discussions by Coffey’s team. She testified that up until her departure in July 2011 the records were filed in a filing cabinet in her office, but she currently does not have access nor knows if it still exists.

A second witness, Rena Bitter, Director of the State Department Operations Center, spoke about two working groups created under her office’s auspices: the Wiki-leaks Working Group and the Wiki-leaks Persons at Risk Working Group, which were created by the government to deal with fallout from Wikileaks.

The defense has made it pretty clear that the actual damage done from Manning’s alleged release of hundreds of thousands of classified military reports, state department cables, and video clips to the Wikileaks website in 2010 has been minimal, and a platform for their defense. The defense also argued in favor of dismissing eight of the 22 charges against Manning that focus on transmitting classified or sensitive information to unauthorized persons.

One of Manning’s lawyers, Joshua Tooman, argued the government was vague and went overboard in these charges because it didn’t sufficiently explain who had been injured by the leaks. “(It’s) unclear of the type of injury…is it physical injury, is it monetary,” he asked.

Government lawyers disagreed.  A decision on that motion to dismiss the charges is expected by close of this sessions hearing. More motions are expected this afternoon, including a defense request to dismiss two of the charges related to allegations that Manning exceeding authorized access of data.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun072012

Damage Assessment: State Dept Officials to Testify in WikiLeaker's Trial

Alex Wong/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Three State Department officials will testify in court Thursday as part of the defense motion for discovery of damage assessments in alleged WikiLeaker PFC Bradley Manning's trial.

The defense has made it pretty clear that the actual damage done from Manning’s alleged release of hundreds of thousands of classified military reports, state department cables and video clips to the Wikileaks website in 2010 has been minimal, and a platform for their defense.

Their discovery motion requests damage assessments from more than 40 government agencies, including the State Department.

On Wednesday, arguments for the discovery request were heard in the Fort Meade, Md., courtroom, as well as the judge ordering the government to hand over anything it sees that could benefit the preparation of the defense.

The defense is also seeking to dismiss 10 of the 22 specifications against Manning.  Eight focus on transmitting classified or sensitive information to unauthorized persons and two relate to allegations of Manning exceeding authorized access.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun062012

Alleged Wiki-Leaker Bradley Manning Could See More Hearings

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- In what has become almost a monthly event, alleged Wiki-Leaker Bradley Manning was back in court for more motions hearings Wednesday.

He could be spending even more time in court leading up to his Sept. 21 trial date because presiding judge Col. Denise Lind has doubled the number of pretrial hearings from three to six.

However, Manning’s trial could be delayed by as much as 60 days if Lind grants a defense motion to stay certain proceedings. The defense filed an additional discovery request and wants time, if the discovery is granted, to evaluate the evidence that has potential to be favorable to Manning’s defense.

The 24-year-old, accused of the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history, is charged with aiding the enemy by causing hundreds of thousands of classified war logs and diplomatic cables to be published on the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks in 2010.

When Manning was last in court, the judge denied a defense motion to dismiss the charge of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge Manning will face during his court-martial.

In the first day of this set of hearings, the government was ordered by Lind to turn over State Department damage assessments to the defense, even though they are in “draft” form.

Manning’s defense team was granted a discovery motion to receive a redacted version of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s WikiLeaks Damage Assessment Report “almost in its entirety,” with only minimal classified information removed.

CIA documents that were previously turned over by the government to the defense were found by Lind to be inadequate. Lind will hold an ex-parte session to determine what will be turned over to defense while still maintaining the government's concerns over classified materials.

Arguments for the discovery request were heard in the Fort Meade, Md., courtroom and Thursday three State Department witnesses are expected to testify toward discovery elements of the damage assessments.

Over the next two days, Lind will hear defense motions to dismiss 10 of the 22 specifications Manning faces.

Eight of the specifications up for dismissal focus on transmitting classified or sensitive information to unauthorized persons and two relate to allegations of Manning exceeding authorized access.

The defense is expected to argue that the government is overly broad and vague in its charges that Manning transmitted information to unauthorized persons and that the language of the law the government is charging under doesn’t allow the government to use it in this way.

As for the motion to dismiss the charges of exceeding authorized access, the defense, led by attorney David Coombs, is expected to argue that Manning couldn’t exceed access in the way the government is alleging, therefore it cannot be a crime.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun062012

Bradley Manning Back in Court Again for Motion Hearings

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- In what has become almost a monthly event, alleged WikiLeaker PFC Bradley Manning is back in court for more motion hearings on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of public property or records, and transmitting defense information.

When Manning was last in court the judge denied a defense motion to dismiss the charge of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge Manning will face during his court martial. 

On Wednesday, the presiding judge, Col. Denise Lind, will hear defense motions to dismiss 10 of the 22 specifications Manning faces.

Eight of the specifications up for dismissal focus on transmitting classified or sensitive information to unauthorized persons and two relate to allegations of Manning exceeding authorized access.

The defense is expected to argue that the government is overly broad and vague in their charges that Manning transmitted information to unauthorized persons and that the language of the law the government is charging under doesn’t allow the government to use it in this way.

As for the motion to dismiss the charges of exceeding authorized access, the defense, led by attorney David Coombs, is expected to argue that Manning couldn’t have exceeded access by simply using his government computers in the way the government is alleging, therefore it cannot be a crime.

Lind is also expected to rule on discovery motions in which the defense wants access to classified assessments and files from government agencies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

No Luck for Bradley Manning: More Motions Denied in WikiLeaks Case

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- The judge in the case of accused WikiLeaker PFC Bradley Manning has denied a defense motion to dismiss the charge of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge Manning will face during his court martial.

On the third and final day of pre-trial hearings in Manning’s case, presiding judge Col. Denise Lind on Thursday denied two other defense motions.  They included an assertion that prosecutors unreasonably multiplied charges against Manning, and a motion to dismiss a charge dealing with publishing information on the Internet knowing the enemy has access to the Web.

Manning’s civilian defense counsel, David Coombs, argued on Wednesday that the charge of aiding the enemy was too vague.

Outlining specific instructions in her decision to deny the motion, Lind told the government that it must prove Manning knew that by putting information on the WikiLeaks site the enemy would access it.

If, at the end of the trial, currently set for late September, the government does not prove Manning had that knowledge, the defense can then submit another motion to dismiss the charge.

Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of public property or records, and transmitting defense information.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Coombs criticized the government for allegedly piling “on offenses to increase the sentence.”  He requested four charges be dismissed because the specifications were unreasonable and a duplication of other charges against Manning.

Lind denied that motion during Thursday’s hearing at Ft. Meade, Md., based on the fact that given the amount of information involved it was not an unreasonable duplication.

“The number of charges does not misrepresent or exaggerate the accused theft of government property,” Lind said.

Although Lind denied the motion submitted by the defense, she said it can readdress the motion again at sentencing, if it is relevant.

The judge also disagreed with the defense’s argument that the charge Manning faces for “wrongfully and wantonly caus[ing] [information] to be published on the Internet” knowing it would be accessed by the enemy is redundant, saying it is not preempted by the charge of “aiding the enemy.”  She said that the alleged crimes were distinct and separate criminal acts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr262012

Bradley Manning Defense Challenges Charge of ‘Aiding the Enemy’

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Approximately 20 supporters of PFC Bradley Manning on Wednesday spilled over both sides of a small courtroom at Fort Meade, Md., the venue for a pre-trial hearing in the WikiLeaks case at which Manning’s defense argued for dismissing charges against Manning.

About half of the Manning supporters had “truth” emblazoned across their shirts.  Although their shirts spoke for them, at the very end of the hearing a few voices made their opinions audible.

A man yelled out, “Thank you, Bradley,” followed by, “Please free Bradley Manning.”

One woman yelled, “I think the military should go on trial.”  Then another joined in, saying, “We need to know what our government’s doing.”

It was unclear if Manning, 24, acknowledged his supporters.

Manning is charged with having provided hundreds of thousands of classified military reports, diplomatic cables and video clips to WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst during a deployment to Baghdad.  WikiLeaks then posted much of the information on the Internet.

Earlier on Wednesday, the presiding judge in the case denied a defense motion that all the charges against Manning be dismissed.

The afternoon session focused on defense motions to dismiss a charge of aiding the enemy.

Manning’s defense counsel, David Coombs, argued that the charge was unreasonable.

“Because the enemy had access to Internet and may go to the website, they are indirectly aiding the enemy?” he asked.  “Most common-sense knowledge people would know the enemy uses the Internet.”

Coombs also accused government prosecutors of broadly interpreting what aiding the enemy means with regard to Internet chats.  He said they could have a chilling effect on the First Amendment right to free speech.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice’s definition of aiding the enemy says that a perpetrator, “without proper authority, knowingly … gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly.”

The prosecution said Manning did, in fact, know that the enemy, which was previously defined as al Qaeda, would access the government secrets on WikiLeaks.

During Manning’s pre-trial “Article 32″ hearing in December, the government presented evidence that included a Powerpoint presentation in which the former Army intelligence analyst depicted WikiLeaks as a way the “enemy” obtains information.

Coombs criticized the government for allegedly piling “on offenses to increase the sentence.”

“Now, the maximum punishment is in the stratosphere, due to the way you [the government] charged it,” Coombs said.

He requested four charges be dismissed because the specifications were unreasonable and a duplication of other charges against Manning.

The charge of aiding the enemy carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.  If convicted of the other charges he faces, Manning could face more than 150 years in prison.

Col. Denise Lind, the military judge presiding over the case, expects to have decisions on both motions Thursday morning.  The day will then turn to addressing the prosecution’s motion on the actual harm of the leaks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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