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Bradley Manning Pre-Trial Hearing: Live Blog, Day 6 and Recap of Day 5

Pfc. Bradley Manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning’s Article 32 hearing or, as it is more generally called, pre-trial hearing resumes today. The US government has finished presenting evidence. The defense will now begin to present its side of the case.

Members of the prosecution include Captain Ashden Fein, Captain Joe Morrow and Captain Angel Overgaard and Captain Hunter Whyte. Members of the defense include Mr. David Coombs, Major Matthew Kemkes and Captain Paul Bouchard.

I have been here at Ft. Meade covering the hearing since it began on Friday, December 16.

A quick recap of Day 5:

—Hacker and confidential informant Adrian Lamo takes the stand as a witness for the prosecution. I put together two stories containing more than ninety percent of what Lamo had to say. Here is part one, which features the prosecution’s cross-examination, and much of Coombs’ cross-examination. Here is part two, which includes the rest of Coombs’ cross-examination of Lamo and Special Agent Edwards’ testimony on Lamo’s cooperation with the government as a confidential informant.

Jihrleah Showman, a former team supervisor of Manning’s, testified telephonically. Her testimony was particularly significant but not because of what she said for the prosecution. Coombs cross-examined her and was able to get out key details on her time with Manning when she was stateside. She did not want Manning to deploy. She went to SFC Paul Adkins, who invoked his right to not testify on Sunday (Day 3). Read more about her testimony here.

—Showman is the one who found the “Collateral Murder” video. And, she talked about finding the video yesterday. She was being groomed for a position as a target analyst and was going through folders that belong to the “Fire” section. A chief was with her looking at different videos. There was no specific reason to view the “Collateral Murder” video. She looked at a few other videos, including this video. Manning saw the video because Showman had it on her computer, and others in the facility were watching it.

Five minutes of Showman’s testimony was given in a closed session. The defense successfully pushed to have some of Showman’s unclassified testimony given in closed proceedings. The defense wanted this testimony to not be heard by the public or press because it could prejudice the hearing and have an adverse impact on Manning. The proceedings entered a closed portion to determine whether to have Showman testify for a few minutes in the closed session.

The proceedings for Wednesday, December 21, are to begin at 9:00 AM EST. It is unknown how long the proceedings will run today.

I am in the Media Operations Center (MOC) at Ft. Meade. I am unable to post live updates while court is in session but check back here for updates throughout the morning and afternoon. I will be posting during breaks and when classified information is being reviewed (because press and the public are not allowed to follow these portions of the hearing). Also, follow me at @kgosztola for quick updates. [continued with today updates]

10:40 AM — Captain Barclay Keay testified telephonically from parts unknown (though where he was at it was about 3 am.) Keay was in the Tenth Mountain Division with Manning. He was a captain in the S2 shop until he was transferred. He was there for about three weeks.

Keay was in charge of a few soldiers and worked as the Night OIC. He had a “skeleton crew.” There were three on the night shift. Manning was one of them.

The night shift had no non-commissioned officer. Coombs pressed Keay on this and asked why. Keay said the primary focus was daytime duty. Everything was happening in the day and the key leaders in the brig were awake then so that was when most intelligence analyst work.

He did see soldiers listening to music and watching ” stupid little funny clips that were being passed around.”

Asked about games being on computers, he said, “I don’t think I ever caught anybody with their hand in the cookie jar playing video games.”

Keay gave a sworn statement where he stated to a Secretary of the Army investigator that he did not find it appropriate to have media in the SCIF (music, movies and games). He thought having the media in the SCIF would be looked at as “negative.” He thought it was something the military “shouldn’t be so liberal about.”

He commented, “You shouldn’t be listening to music while the soldier is doing the reading and figuring out their job.” Then, after being asked if Manning wanted to be a good soldier, he said, “I do feel like he wanted to be a good solider.” He tried to and did do good analytical work.

Keay was the final witness called to the stand in the hearing. This concluded the defense’s side of the case at 9:38 AM EST.

10:51 AM — Looking at the time. The math is off. Defense only rested its case about fifty minutes after it began its side of the case. Prosecution presented its case over four days and the defense presented its case over fifty minutes.

10:31 AM — For an example of the routine questions prosecution asked all witnesses in the military—

Cpt. Angel Overgaard cross-examined Padgett for the prosecution and asked if he learned about operation security and its importance. She asked if he learned about information security and its importance. She asked if he went through “scenarios” during training on “enemies of the United States and if he learned the consequences of releasing classified information.

Overgaard also asked what he used at the SCIF at FOB Hammer. He said DCSG-A machine, programs like CIDNE, Tigernet and other analytical tools. She then asked if he ever used CIDNE Afhanistan, Netcentric Diplomacy or WGET. He said no to each. She wondered if he had ever burned classified information on to a CD for personal use. No, he answered.

Finally, she wondered if he signed a non-disclosure agreement reminding him to “safeguard classified information.” He answered no. “But you already knew that because of your training as a 35FOX?” Overgaard replied. Correct, he said. “Whose job is it to safeguard classified information?” Yes, soldiers especially those with security clearances are expected to safeguard classified information.

10:33 AM — IO Almanza cross-examined Padgett for a short-period. He wanted to know if music was authorized and whether it was on the shared drive in the SCIF. He asked if movies were present. He wanted to know if there were games on the shared drive too. Padgett testified there were no movies present in the SCIF. Music was on the shared drive and at one point soldiers were authorized to bring in music CDS but not rewriteable CDs.

10:25 AM Sgt. Daniel Padgett, who served in the SCIF with Manning, testified for the defense. Particularly of interest was Padgett’s testimony on Manning being late for duty in December 2009. Padgett had a counseling session with Manning.

Manning turned the table upside down. A radio and a few government computers crashed to the ground. Manning was restrained by one of the officers in the S2. They wanted to keep Manning from going toward a weapons rack. As Padgett stated, he didn’t see Manning go toward the rack but “I wanted him to be away from anything that could harm” him. Manning was restrained in a “full nelson” by a CW2 officer and then he was sat down on a bench in the room until he calmed down.

Padgett could not remember talking to Sgt. Paul Adkins. He couldn’t remember talking to commanding officers on the incident. There was no UCMJ disciplinary action as a result.

10:14 AM Accused has to be arraigned within 120 days of being detained. There are excluded dates. The request for the 706 Board, which ended April 18, and then the dates in November are all excluded from this timeline. This is what the legal expert briefing press is outlining. (Hoping to get more information on this.)

Col. Coffman is, by the way, the special court martial convening authority. All of this is going to be presented to him and he makes a recommendation to the general court martial convening authority.

10:12 AM Report on the hearing does not have to be issued by IO Paul Almanza until January 16. But, Almanza can request a delay.

10:03 AM The government refuses to allow the hearing to wrap today. The government refused to give their closing statement today. They claimed they could not be ready because Coombs just entered evidence into the record and they received a copy of it too late yesterday. Coombs objected to this justification and said this is evidence from the government and they have had it in their possession for the past 18 months. The defense suggested the hearing reconvene at 3:00 or 4:00 PM. The prosecution or IO was not about to let this happen.

Put on the record that one of the conference sessions dealt with a scheduling. They had already agreed that they would break and begin tomorrow. Coombs suggested the government is building a PowerPoint for their closing statement. So, they likely have to rehearse.

9:51 AM Only two witnesses are called by the defense to testify. Only two were allowed to testify too. The IO, probably lobbied by the prosecution or government, denied numerous witnesses prior to today.

There is officially no more evidence to be presented and no more witnesses to testify in the hearing.

The prosecution spent about 4 days presenting evidence and entering testimony from witnesses into the record. The defense spent one and a half hours presenting evidence and entering testimony from witnesses into the record.

8:49 AM As the defense begins today, I will note how Manning supporters would likely want the defense to proceed. First, they would like to see the defense bring up how Manning was treated in pre-trial confinement. They then would like to see the “whistleblower defense” made, meaning the defense should discuss the information and how its contents depicted war crimes, military incidents, political corruption, etc, and provided necessary transparency.

Also, after yesterday, it seems the defense should challenge and pick apart Lamo’s version of events. Use this timeline or something similar as a guide. Press Lamo on how he violated Manning by going to law enforcement and not keeping Manning’s messages secret like a journalist would do for a source providing sensitive information. Like they did in court yesterday, push him on handing over the Manning-Lamo chat logs to Wired. Coombs could even go so far as to have Wired editor Kevin Poulsen or Chet Uber take the stand. They are part of this story and Coombs could pick apart how the government has handled the investigation and treated Manning.

Defending Manning this way would certainly be better than arguing he was a homosexual in the military, who had behavioral health and emotional problems. Being “crazy gay” in the military does not seem like a defense that would convince the military to look past the charges.

8:34 AM A legal expert with the military who has been briefing media each morning tells the pool that today we could see the defense have their 2-4 approved witnesses and then closing statements could be given. There is a good possibility the hearing finishes today. However, the defense or prosecution could call for a recess to prepare a closing statement and then it is highly likely the hearing resumes for a seventh day and wraps tomorrow, Thursday, December 22.

8:30 AM This morning I am sitting next to Nancy Youssef of McClatchy. She is one journalist who has produced some very solid and substantial coverage of WikiLeaks. For example, “Officials May Be Overstating the Danger from WikiLeaks.”

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."