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Army Intelligence Report on WikiLeaks ‘Threat’ Being Used to Argue Bradley Manning Knew He’d Aid Enemy

A 2008 report produced by the Army Counterintelligence Center highlighted how WikiLeaks had cited two thousand pages of “leaked US Army documents with information on the Tables of Equipment (TOEs) for US and Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as a perfect example of the sort of information that would benefit from a global analysis.” It consisted of descriptions of equipment and the total number of equipment assigned to military units “assigned to US Central Command in April 2007.”

The report also noted that such information “could aid enemy forces in planning terrorist attacks, selecting the most effective type and emplacement of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), building triggering devices to defeat countermeasures organic to friendly units, and selecting the most effective direct and indirect weapons systems for conducting physical attacks against targets such as military units, convoys, and base camps.” And this report was provided by Pfc. Bradley Manning.

During the first day of Manning’s trial yesterday, the government cited this report in its slide show that formed the basis of their opening statement:

…, a publicly accessible Internet Web site, represents a potential force protection, counterintelligence, operational security (OPSEC), and information security (INFOSEC) threat to the US Army. The intentional or unintentional leaking and posting of US Army sensitive or classified information to could result in increased threats to DoD personnel, equipment, facilities, or installations. The leakage of sensitive and classified DoD information also calls attention to the insider threat, when a person or persons motivated by a particular cause or issue wittingly provides information to domestic or foreign personnel or organizations to be published by the news media or on the Internet. Such information could be of value to foreign intelligence and security services (FISS), foreign military forces, foreign insurgents, and foreign terrorist groups for collecting information or for planning attacks against US force, both within the United States and abroad….

It took on additional significance in the trial of Manning as the government said for the first time yesterday, when referencing this report, that “Manning’s research warned him of the enemies’ use of WikiLeaks.”

This military intelligence report noted that WikiLeaks had posted a National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) that was “classified SECRET//NOFORN” and entitled “Complex Environments: Battle of Fallujah I, April 2004.” It claimed that the leaked report could “provide foreign governments, terrorists, and insurgents with insight into successful asymmetric warfare tactics, techniques, and procedures that could be used when engaging US or Coalition forces and provide insight into effective media, information, or influence operations that could be used to defeat a superior enemy.”

This argument is nearly identical to the argument the military prosecutors have been advancing against Manning, as they argue that he, “without proper authority, knowingly [gave] intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means.

Military prosecutor Cpt. Tom Morrow made multiple statements in court yesterday about how Manning’s disclosures “aided” the enemy. He said, “This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases and then literally dumped that information on to the Internet and into the hands of the enemy. Material he knew, based on his training and experience, could put the lives and welfare of his fellow soldiers at risk.”

In relation to the Army intelligence report, Morrow stated, “The evidence will show that PFC Manning searched for WikiLeaks more than 100 times on the SIPRNET [secret network with databases of government information]. The evidence will show that he understood the nature of the organization. The search he made on 1 December 2009, the search for WikiLeaks, the evidence will show, led him to this document in particular, the documents charged in specification 15 of charge two.”

Morrow has made statement in court related to the “aiding the enemy” charge and how they intend to prove it in previous pretrial hearings. On January 9, Morrow asked the judge to take notice of the fact that Osama bin Laden had been an enemy of the United States on the FBI’s “most wanted” list. He described digital media found during the Osama bin Laden raid and he had bin Laden had requested copies of US government documents posted by WikiLeaks. A response to that letter had military incident reports from Afghanistan attached and some State Department cables attached.

Morrow also asked the judge to take notice of the fact that Adam Gadahn is an enemy of the US. The government intends to present a video during sentencing where he discusses WikiLeaks and al Qaeda’s response to the leaks. This shows “possession of information by the enemy.”

Finally, the government urged the judge to take notice of Inspire magazine, a magazine the government described as a magazine that “promotes violent jihad” and the “ideology” of AQAP. Morrow said the government had witnesses who could testify about the magazine.

This is all leading to future arguments in the trial where the prosecution and defense will deliberate over what exactly WikiLeaks happens to be—a media organization entitled to First Amendment rights or an organization intent on conspiring with insiders to exfiltrate secret US government data and information.

Previously, also on January 9, the judge asked in court, “What is the relevance of how WikiLeaks was viewed? What’s the difference between WikiLeaks and the New York Times?”  The defense agreed with what the judge was suggesting through her question and said would argue there is no difference.

It was on this day, however, that the judge asked prosecutors, “If we substituted New York Times for WikiLeaks, would you still charge Bradley Manning in the way that you have?” Without hesitation, the military prosecutor Cpt. Angel Overgaard answered yes.
The government has clearly indicated the government considers WikiLeaks to be different from the New York Times. Prosecutors intend to call a witness during sentencing to “characterize” WikiLeaks. So, too, does the defense, which informed the court back in January that Professor Yochai Benkler, who wrote “A Free Irresponsible Press: WikiLeaks and the Battle Over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate,” will be called as a researcher and expert on WikiLeaks. His testimony would undercut the argument being made by prosecutors that by giving to WikiLeaks he would have knowledge of providing information to the enemy.
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Army Intelligence Report on WikiLeaks 'Threat' Being Used to Argue Bradley Manning Knew He'd Aid Enemy

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

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