Data Trail Probed in WikiLeaks Case

     FT. MEADE, Md. (CN) – The second week of Bradley Manning’s trial begins today with testimony from computer forensic investigators analyzing technical details of the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history.
     Manning, who turned 25 in December, admitted in February that he leaked more than 700,000 files, including diplomatic cables, incident reports from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, profiles of Guantanamo detainees, and a video of an airstrike in Baghdad that WikiLeaks titled “Collateral Murder.”
     Prosecutors claim there were other disclosures to which Manning has not admitted, including a “Global Address List” containing personal information and emails of 74,000 armed services members stationed in Iraq.
     WikiLeaks has never published that list, and Manning claims he downloaded it but never sent it.
     The parties also dispute the date that Manning sent WikiLeaks a video related to another airstrike, on Farah, Afghanistan, which killed more than 100 civilians.
     Although the government claims he sent that footage a month after his deployment, in December 2009, Manning says he sent it in early 2010.
     It is unclear what difference, if any, the discrepancy in dates makes, but independent journalist Alexa O’Brien has reported that the timeline could affect potential conspiracy charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
     Manning made the admissions, and denials, in pleading guilty to 10 lesser included offenses: reduced versions of the original charges, to limit his potential sentencing exposure to 20 years in prison.
     The government has accepted only one of those pleas, and intends to pursue the other original 21 specifications, which include violations of the Espionage Act, of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and “aiding the enemy,” in particular al-Qaida, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and a “classified enemy.”
     The first three witnesses in week two of the trial will be experts from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command Computer Crimes Investigative Unit: David Shaver, Mark Johnson and Mark Mander.
     Shaver and Johnson testified last week, on the second day of the trial. They will return this week due to a quirk in military procedure that allows witnesses to testify repeatedly as testimony unfolds.
     During his first time up, Shaver merely testified to his expertise and was accepted as a witness.
     Johnson acknowledged under cross-examination that he found little on Manning’s computer that indicated that the young soldier had nefarious aims.
     Maj. Thomas Hurley, one of the defense attorneys, claimed that Johnson found nothing on Manning’s computer that showed a “hatred of America.”
     “You didn’t note that on your report?” Hurley asked.
     “No, sir,” Johnson replied.
     An unofficial transcript of the exchange, published by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, continues:
     “Q: Because you didn’t find it?
     “A: Right.
     “Q: You also would have noted, if you had found anything that related to terrorism?
     “A: Yes, sir.
     “Q: If there was any sort of evidence that suggested that my client was supporting terrorism, you would have noted that?
     “A: Yes, sir.
     “Q: You didn’t note anything?
     “A: I did not discover anything, no, sir.
     “Q: You also would have made note of anything that would have shown a transfer of funds?
     “A: If I had discovered anything, yes.
     “Q: If you had found something that seemed like a lot of money for a PFC to have, you would have noted that?
     “A: Yes.
     “Q: You didn’t note that in this case?
     “A: That is correct.”
     (The transcript was produced courtesy of unofficial court stenographers the Freedom of the Press Foundation funded by private donations to augment a sparse public record in the Manning court-martial. The U.S. military privately keeps official transcripts of every proceeding, but it has not released transcripts from the Manning trial. The government has released only a fraction of legal filings and rulings in the case, prompting criticism from press advocacy groups.)
     During opening arguments, Manning’s lead defense attorney David Coombs portrayed his client as a “young, naïve but good-intentioned” soldier who sought to start a civic dialogue about U.S. warfare and diplomacy by releasing categories of documents he believed were low-sensitivity data.
     His supporters, who regularly fill the courtroom in T-shirts emblazoned with the word “Truth,” credit him for revealing death counts of the Iraq war, backroom diplomatic dealings and human details about people imprisoned indefinitely at Guantanamo without charge.
     Manning’s trial is expected to last through late August.

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