WikiLeaks data included details of U.S. military targets, techniques

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The vast trove of classified documents Army Pfc. Bradley Manning gave to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks included sensitive information about military operations and tactics, including techniques for disabling roadside bombs, the names of informants and at least one enemy target.

Evidence presented to Pfc Manning’s court martial at the Ft. Mead, Md., Army base included written statements from military secrecy experts that defense and prosecution lawyers accepted as substitutions for live testimony. It was read aloud in court, according to the Associated Press.

In his statement, one of the experts, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Martin Nehring, said he had reviewed the hundreds of thousands of U.S. military battlefield reports posted by Wikileaks.

He said he found techniques for neutralizing improvised explosive devices, the name of an enemy target, the names of criminal suspects and details of troop movements.

Manning, a 25-year-old Oklahoma native who has been in custody for nearly three years awaiting trial, has said he didn’t believe that national security would be harmed by the release of nearly a quarter-million battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and video clips he downloaded from U.S. government computer systems while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad.

He has already pleaded guilty to several charges and faces 20 years or more in prison.

But prosecutors still want to convict him of aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence, for leaking documents they say found their way to Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan.

First Amendment lawyer James Goodale, author or “Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles,” said a Manning conviction on espionage or federal computer fraud charges would enable prosecutors to charge any civilians who helped him, including WikilLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“In Assange’s case relative to Manning, they can treat each of them as co-conspirators and prosecute them,” Goodale told AP.

 

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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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