PFC Bradley Manning

The court martial for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, resumes today with a motion hearing. There will be arguments over witnesses for a hearing on the defense’s “lack of speedy trial” motion, which is scheduled for October 29 through November 2.

The identities of witnesses, which the defense wants to call for the motion, are redacted from the motion itself and currently secret. However, there are a few details on the nature of witnesses that defense and prosecution would like to call for the hearing at the end of October.

The defense would like original classification authorities (OCAs) from each of the following: United States Central Command (CENTCOM); Joint Task Force – Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO); Department of State (DOS); Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI); “Other Government Agency for Specifications 3 and 15 of Charge II”; Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); and United States Cyber Command (CYBERCOM).

It also requests a witness from “Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA); Department of State (DOS) and Diplomatic Security Services
(DSS); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX); DIA, DISA, CENTCOM, SOUTHCOM, CYBERCOM; DOJ; Other Government Agency; and each of the previously identified 63 Agencies.”

OCAs are individuals granted the authority “specific to a level of classification” and assess and decide to classify information. An OCA can help make a determination, as to whether the defense has a “need to know” the information that is classified.

An OCA may classify “military plans, weapons systems, or operations; foreign government information; intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology; foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources; scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national securityvernment programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities; vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, infrastructures, projects, plans, or protection services relating to national security and weapons of mass destruction.”

However, the OCAs are not supposed to classify information to “conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error, prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency, restrain competition, prevent or delay the release of information that does not
require protection in the interest of national security.”

Other issues that may arise during the hearing could relate to redactions in an FBI file, conflicts that might arise in court over information that is “above top secret” and the government invoking privileges to withhold information in order to “protect” national security interests.

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

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