Government Accepts Bradley Manning’s Plea to Lesser Offense Related to Disclosure of Diplomatic Cable
The government had previously indicated it would present all evidence related to all charges, regardless of the fact that Pfc. Bradley Manning pled guilty to some of the offenses he faced. But, in military court today, a military prosecutor informed the judge that the government would not be making a case that Manning committed the greater offense alleged in relation to the disclosure of a diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland.
This is the count or specification under one of the charges that the government alleged Manning had committed:
SPECIFICATION 14: In that Private First Class Bradley E. Manning, US Army, did, at or near Contingency Operating Station Hammer, Iraq, between on or about 15 February 2010 and on or about 18 February 2010, having knowingly exceeded authorized access on a Secret Internet Protocol Router Network computer, and by means of such conduct having obtained information that has been determined by the United States government pursuant to an Executive Order or statute to require protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national defense or foreign relations, to wit: a classified Department of State cable titled “Reykjavik-13”, willfully communicate, deliver, transmit, or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the said information, to a person not entitled to receive it, with reason to believe that such information so obtained could be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, in violation of 18 US Code Section 1030(a) (1), such conduct being prejudicial to good order and discipline in the armed forces and being of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.
According to Alexa O’Brien, he pled guilty to committing this lesser offense and not guilty to the greater offense on February 28, as follows:
…[G]uilty except the words and figures ’15 February 2010 and 18 February 2010′ substituting therefore the words and figures ’14 February 2010 and 15 February 2010′. Further excepting the words ‘knowingly exceeded authorized access’ substituting therefore the words ‘knowingly accessed’. Further excepting the words, ‘with reason to believe that such information so obtained could be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, in violation of 18 US Code Section 1030(a)(1),’. To the excepted words and figures, not guilty. To the substituted words and figures, guilty.
What that all means is that he did not plead guilty to “exceeding authorized access” or that he had reason to believe the information would be used “to the injury of the united states or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” He did not plead guilty to violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
The government has decided to accept the plea and not make a case that he did commit a violation of CFAA. Essentially, the prosecutors have accepted that he violated military codes, which he took an oath to follow, and are content.