Entries in Wikileaks (56)


WikiLeaks Threat Prompts Obama to Tighten Security

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama signed an executive order on Friday to tighten the government’s handling of classified secrets and prevent any future “insider threat” incidents like the 2010 WikiLeaks publication of damaging classified emails and government documents.

Thousands of sensitive and embarrassing messages were released worldwide, illegally the president says, and his administration responded with a review and tightened procedures for handling secret information.

Among the reforms the White House says are already in place: better verification of who is accessing specific areas of information and what kind of removable media are used.

In the WikiLeaks case, an Army Sgt. Bradley Manning remains in custody, accused of loading classified messages onto a CD which he had labeled to appear to be music by Lady Gaga.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Condemns WikiLeaks' Latest Document Dump

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- WikiLeaks informed the U.S. State Department it was about to release a massive dump of classified cables -- over 125,000 in the past week -- but representatives of the agency wants to make known its not working with the group. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement Thursday the release is "irresponsible, reckless, and frankly dangerous."

Nuland said the anti-secrecy group ignored requests not to publish the confidential diplomatic cables.

When the first batch of cables was published last November, the State Department and media organizations helped ensure the documents were stripped of information that could identify sources like human rights activists and informants that could put them in danger. However, there are examples where names of sources have appeared in the documents released in the past week, and the entire unredacted cache was made available by the UK’s Guardian.

Earlier this week Nuland said that the U.S. has taken steps to help certain individuals that might be in danger, but would not elaborate.

“We remain concerned about these illegal disclosures and about concerns and risks to individuals. We continue to carefully monitor what becomes public and to take steps to mitigate the damage to national security and to assist those who may be harmed by these illegal disclosures to the extent that we can,” she said on Tuesday.

Here’s Nuland’s statement from Thursday in full:

Wikileaks did advise us of the impending release of information and of its intention to continue to release classified documents.  We have made clear our views and concerns about illegally disclosed classified information and the continuing risk to individuals and national security  that such releases cause.  Wikileaks has, however, ignored our requests not to release or disseminate any U.S. documents it may possess and has continued its well-established pattern of irresponsible, reckless, and frankly dangerous actions.  We are not cooperating with them.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bradley Manning's Father Says His Greatest Fear Is Son Is Guilty

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When people ask Brian Manning if he is related to Pvt. Bradley Manning, he sometimes denies it.  The thought that his son could be guilty of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks -- including Afghan and Iraq war logs, a quarter of a million State Department cables and two videos -- scares the elder Manning.

He hasn't had a chance to ask his son, who was arrested in May 2010, if he's guilty -- but if he is, Brian Manning was matter-of-fact in what he'd say to his son.

"You f---ing stupid idiot.  Why would you do something like that?"

He added, "I would be openly embarrassed at holding up thinking he's innocent and I'd be embarrassed he'd done such a thing."

But for now, Brian Manning, who was a naval intelligence officer during the Vietnam War, is sticking by his son and denying reports the two had a fractured relationship.

Many Americans know little about the soldier accused of leaking the mountain of military secrets to WikiLeaks beyond his name and now-recognizable picture.

"He was always very energetic.  He was just a pretty normal kid," his father said of the 23-year-old who now sits in a cell at Fort Leavenworth, awaiting a military trial on charges that could keep him locked up for the rest of his life.

A recent PBS Frontline documentary obtained Bradley Manning's Facebook page, where he wrote openly about being gay, opposing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the feelings of loneliness and isolation he experienced in the army.

In fact, they were feelings so acute that Manning's superiors almost didn't send him to Iraq because he was considered emotionally unstable.  Somehow, the young private ended up working in a top-secret facility -- a place where he would have access to classified documents.

Bradley Manning was arrested in May 2010 after allegedly bragging to a hacker about leaking a trove of documents to WikiLeaks.

Even though he's sticking up for Bradley now, Brian Manning knows there are even more twists and turns ahead as his son awaits trial and the potential of spending the rest of his young life in prison.  And for whoever leaked the documents -- even if it was his Bradley -- Brian Manning said he hopes justice prevails.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Did Obama Compromise Fair Trial for Bradley Manning?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Supporters of Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who was arrested one year ago Thursday on suspicion of leaking a cache of secret government documents to WikiLeaks, believe an unwitting mistake President Obama made last month could hold the key to getting Manning off the hook.

Manning, who’s being held in a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., will be formally charged this summer and faces a possible trial before a jury of military officers before the end of the year.

But a group of lawyers close to Manning’s defense say comments made by Obama at a California fundraiser on April 21 have compromised a fair trial because of the influence of remarks by the commander in chief can carry.

Obama told a group of Manning supporters who confronted him, “If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law… We’re a nation of laws.”

"We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate,” Obama said of the Manning case, according to video of the encounter posted online. “He broke the law.”

Since no court has heard evidence against Manning or rendered judgment on any charges, some legal experts say Obama’s comments could be grounds for a mistrial.

“This amounts to unlawful command influence,” Kevin Zeese, a lawyer with the Bradley Manning Support Network, told reporters Wednesday.

“How are these officers [on a jury] going to rule against their commander in chief?” Zeese said. “Any officer that finds Manning not guilty will have no chance of advancing his career after doing so.”

Zeese said military legal precedent recognizes high-level command influence on judicial proceedings as a “cancer” on the justice system and one to which judges are highly sensitive.

The White House has said Obama was not referring specifically to Manning or the charges against him when he made the comments last month.  Also, several legal experts believe Obama’s comments, however unseemly some may judge them, probably will not derail the proceedings.

This is “much ado about nothing,” said Gary Myers, a civilian attorney who regularly defends soldiers facing military court martial.

Myers, who represented several soldiers charged in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2004, said President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made similar pronouncements about his clients that the court did not take into account.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks Suspect Bradley Manning Headed to Kansas for Detention, Trial

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Army private accused of leaking thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks will be transferred from a Marine Corps detention center at Quantico, Va., to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, ahead of trial, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, told reporters the military decided to move Pfc. Bradley Manning, 23, to Leavenworth's state-of-the-art Joint Regional Correctional Facility, in part to provide him with greater access to mental, emotional and physical health resources.

Johnson said the transfer was not prompted by outcry over conditions at the Quantico facility, which have drawn protests from several international human rights groups and representatives of German and U.K. governments and allegations that the military has violated Manning's basic human rights.

Manning, who has not yet been convicted of a crime, spends all but one hour a day in solitary confinement, has to exercise in chains, and is stripped naked each night and forced to wear what his attorney describes as a scratchy, suicide-proof smock.

The military has disputed claims that Manning has been mistreated, insisting he is being treated professionally like every other detainee.

Manning's supporters said they believe the military is trying to use the distance from Washington to make it more difficult for the legal team to coordinate a defense and for visitors to meet with Manning.

Manning has been in military detention for more than nine months, but has not yet been formally indicted. He was arrested in May 2010 after allegedly telling a former hacker that he had given documents to WikiLeaks.

In March, the Army filed 22 new counts against Manning, including aiding the enemy, theft of public property or records, computer fraud and transmitting information in violation of the Espionage Act. He could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Twenty-Two New Charges Against Pvt. Bradley Manning, Accused WikiLeaks Source

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Army late Wednesday filed 22 new charges against PFC Bradley Manning, suspected of passing classified information to the WikiLeaks website. The charges include "aiding the enemy," which is a capital offense, but Army prosecutors told Manning's lawyers that they would not be seeking the death penalty in this case.

The new charges come after a seven-month investigation into whether Manning was the person who leaked the hundreds of thousands of classified military and State Department cables that were made public by WikiLeaks.

Since his arrest last June in Baghdad, Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, has been detained under 12 similar charges that he illegally transferred classified data and provided the information to an unauthorized source. Wednesday's filing updates those original charges.

Since last July WikiLeaks has published incident reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as diplomatic cables that created an international firestorm.

Though not mentioning WikiLeaks by name, the new charge sheets indicate Manning is now being charged with having illegally downloaded the hundreds of thousands of cables and military incident reports that were provided to "an unauthorized source" and ultimately made public by WikiLeaks.

The charge sheets say Manning illegally obtained and transferred 380,000 records from a U.S. military database of military incident reports in Iraq, as well as another 90,000 records from a similar database for Afghanistan. He is also charged with obtaining a video of a 2009 U.S. bombing incident in western Afghanistan that resulted in many Afghan civilian deaths, another item that WikiLeaks has promised to reveal publicly.

According to an Army press release, Manning is being charged with introducing "unauthorized software onto government computers to extract classified information, unlawfully downloaded it, improperly stored it, and transmitted the classified data for public release and use by the enemy.

"The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that Pvt. 1st Class Manning is accused of committing," said Capt. John Haberland, a legal spokesperson for the Military District of Washington. "The new charges will not affect Pvt. 1st Class Manning's right to a speedy trial or his pre-trial confinement," he added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Department of Justice Seeks Twitter Records in Wikileaks Probe

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In an interesting juxtaposition to Secretary Hillary Clinton's Internet freedom speech, Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, the Justice Department will be seeking to enforce a court order to direct Twitter Inc. to provide the U.S. government records from three individuals,  including Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Icelandic parliament who communicated with others about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange last year when WikiLeaks released their trove of U.S. cables.

In December, the U.S. District Court issued the order to seek the information under a 2703 order which allows the government to seek a service provider's customer communications records in the past 180 days. It is essentially an administrative subpoena.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Freedom Foundation are seeking to dismiss and challenge the order.  According to a Jan. 26 court filing, the groups are seeking to dismiss on the grounds that it "intrudes upon important First Amendment rights," 4th Amendment protections, and "will not directly further the government's purported interests."

Jonsdottir and two other individuals have been targeted by these orders to turn over details about their Twitter accounts because the suit suggests they discussed Wikileaks and Assange.  The motion to dismiss notes, "The First Amendment guarantees their right to speak up for and freely associate with even unpopular people."

The motion also notes that the U.S. government request creates, "a disturbing precedent regarding a foreign government's ability to collect private data from another country's officials."

The U.S. government is seeking information about their accounts, direct messages, home address, connection records and IP addresses.

The ACLU and EFF are also seeking to unseal all court orders relating to the case and the government's request for the records.  Everything filed by the Justice Department was filed under seal in the case and remains secret.  The court motion and request to dismiss the court order were only recently unsealed in this matter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CIA Director Warns of Possible Cyber Threats

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) - Top U.S. intelligence officials have raised their concerns about the growing vulnerability of the United States to cyber-warfare threats and malicious computer activity that CIA Director Leon Panetta said “represents the battleground for the future."

Panetta, along with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “This threat is increasing in scope and scale, and its impact is difficult to overstate," Clapper told the committee.

Clapper said that according to industry estimates there are now roughly 60,000 new malicious computer programs that are identified each day. “Some of these are what we define as advanced persistent threats, which are difficult to detect and counter,” Clapper said.

“This is a real national security threat that we have to pay attention to. I know there are a lot of aspects to it," Director Panetta told the committee. "The Internet, the cyber-arena, is -- this is a vastly growing area of information that can be used and abused in a number of ways.”

Over the past several years, U.S. officials and computer security experts have faced a wide array of diverse and growing computer threats ranging from attempted infiltrations of Department of Defense Computers and high-profile companies being hacked, to the massive data breach and related cyber-attacks involving WikiLeaks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kucinich Wants to Meet with Alleged 'WikiLeaker' Bradley Manning

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- How is alleged Wiki-leaker Bradley Manning being treated in the Marines brig at Quantico? That’s what Representative Dennis Kucinich wants to know. The Ohio democrat has fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking to visit the Private who is suspected of leaking thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks.

There have been media reports that Manning is being held in solitary confinement. Kucinich, who has already asked if the military may have missed mental health issues with Private Manning, now wants a personal visit to see the solider is being treated properly. In his letter, dated for Friday, Feb. 4, Kucinich tells Gates that reports describe Manning’s treatment while in custody as “alarming abuses of his constitutional rights and his physical health.”

 Kucinich is a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks Cable: FBI Investigated Suspected 9/11 Scout Team

Photo Courtesy - Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the FBI investigated three men suspected of scouting targets for the hijackers but determined there was no concrete evidence linking the group to the Sept. 11 conspirators, officials said.

A leaked diplomatic cable, posted on the WikiLeaks website Tuesday, shows that nearly a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. Embassy in Doha, Qatar, in Feb. 2010 urged the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center to place a man named Mohamed Ali Mohamed Al Dahham Al Mansoori on a watch list for his alleged connection to the team of three men from Qatar. It notes Mansoori was, as of Feb, 2010, under investigation by the FBI and was considered "an individual who may pose a threat to civil aviation in the U.S. and abroad."

The trio from Qatar arrived in the U.S. on Aug. 15, 2001 and stopped in New York, New York to visit the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty, and then Washington, D.C., where they saw the White House and "various areas in Virginia," the cable says.

The cable says these visits were so the men could "conduct surveillance of possible targets."

U.S. officials declined to comment on the veracity of the cable, but two U.S. officials told ABC News the men from Qatar were under investigation by the FBI as one of "thousands" of leads chased down in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"They were looked at hard," one of the officials said, but no evidence linked them directly to the Sept. 11 hijackers. For his part, Mansoori was under much more scrutiny by the FBI and other government offices, the official said.

Neither Mansoori, nor the names of the three Qatari men, appear in the 9/11 Commission Report.

"If the [9/11] Commission had information in 2004 that reliably linked these individuals to the 9/11 attack, it would have been in our report," former executive director of the 9/11 Commission Philip Zelikow told ABC News.

Additionally, U.S. officials said that if they believed the men were linked to the hijackers, a public alert would have been issued.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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