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Bradley Manning’s Trial—Day 5 (Live Updates)

bradley manning

6:00 PM EST Court proceedings for the day ended with prosecutors and defense continuing to go back and forth on whether Manning transmitted a video from a folder marked Farah investigation and, if so, when. Special Agent David Shaver created a lot of doubt about what actually happened, despite being a prosecution witness.

Perhaps, big takeaway of the day is that Jason Katz, employee of Brookhaven National Laboratory, who the prosecutors alleged had video from Farah investigation on his computer that was provided by Manning, cannot be connected to Manning in any way.

Katz has been subpoenaed to appear before the WikiLeaks grand jury. If he did help WikiLeaks with a video by decrypting it at the laboratory (as he was fired for violating security protocols at the lab), he did not decrypt a video from the Farah investigation provided by Manning. So, there’s no conspiracy.

5:57 PM EST The government wants to prove he transmitted the video in November because it would have been during his first weeks of deployment in Iraq and they are adamant about creating this perception in court that he was working as some kind of agent for WikiLeaks.

5:55 PM EST Prosecutors referenced chat logs between Manning and hacker Adrian Lamo to try and prove Manning had provided a video of the Granai air strike to WikiLeaks, but the defense asked Special Agent Shaver about a tweet WikiLeaks sent in January 8, 2010

5:30PM EST The press was informed by a Public Affairs Officer that it is wrong to display emotion when the prosecutors appear to be unable to prove Pfc Manning committed an offense as charged.

5:18 PM EST Special Agent David Shaver during cross-examination by the defense was asked to go over logs. Generally (and I’ll go into more detail soon), the defense proved that, as charged, Manning did not transfer a Granai air strike video on November 1, 2009.

3:36 PM EST The defense had Special Agent David Shaver authenticate a military incident report from December 24, 2009. It was not explicitly stated in open court, but the defense’s opening statement on June 3 indicated that Manning had been transformed by an incident that happened on this day.

From the transcript posted by Freedom of the Press Foundation:

A few minutes later came some additional news about that EFP, and the report indicated that as the lead element was driving down this road there was this civilian car in front of them, and that civilian car pulled over to the side, as was typical, to allow the convoy to go by, and they pulled over right in front of where that EFP was placed. The car had five occupants, two adults and three children. And that  EFP went right through that car and hit that lead element. All five of the occupants were taken to the hospital, one died en route.

1:38PM EST  Two of the witnesses—Peter Artale and Lt. Col. Thomas Hoskins—whose stipulated testimony was entered into the record in Bradley Manning’s trial today were, at one time, Booz Allen contractors.

1:36PM EST  Stipulated testimony on Iraq, Afghanistan reports were read into the record by the government as an attempt to establish that “national defense info” was released.

1:34PM EST   The Defense establishes that WikiLeaks was not described as exclusively focused on US or exclusively on classified information.

The fifth day of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial began this morning with two witnesses taking the stand to address an Army intelligence report produced on the “threat” of WikiLeaks that Manning accessed and disclosed. Two stipulations were entered into the record and read in open court.

Matthew Housburgh, a special intelligence system administrator for the Marine Corps, testified about attending a Chaos Computer Club conference in December 2009 and how he drafted a report after about the conference afterward. He attended to do research on potential security threats, and it also seemed he thought the military might benefit from hearing how hackers engage in information or operational security). He said it was an opportunity to attend a conference that might “show some security vulnerabilities we could apply to our command.”

He was present for the presentation WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange delivered to an audience of close to 1000 people. Housburgh said he explained “what WikiLeaks was and the launch of their new site,” as well as “their intentions” and what their system would provide. Also, Housburgh said they were soliciting support from the audience for anyone listening to leak information that included not only classified information but also “proprietary secrets.”

The defense, in continuing to poke holes in this argument that Manning would have known terrorists would go to WikiLeaks for US government information, asked if his report had suggested that they use any specific website for open source collection. Housburgh answered that there was nothing specifically mentioned in the report on the conference. In general, they did not specifically highlight how the terrorists use the Internet to “gather open source reporting.” The warnings about the Internet only involved how terrorists could use an open Internet for communication.

Peter Artale, employed by the Army Counterintelligence Center and a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton for one year with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, had stipulated testimony entered into the record. According to Artale, he was notified on March 17, 2010, of the compromise of information. An Army Counterintelligence report on WikiLeaks had been accessed.

Lt. Commander Thomas Hoskins, an F-18 pilot who was deployed in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and also worked for Booz Allen as a maritime planner, had stipulated testimony entered into the record with regards to military incident reports from Afghanistan and the investigation into the Farah air strike that resulted in over a hundred civilian casualties. He also had mobilized to CENTCOM to help with “country-to-country actions” with the US Embassy in Yemen on plans for “security cooperation.”

He reviewed 40 documents that were compromised and provided. Twenty-one were military incident reports. They contained military information on “deploying response forces,” “reporting the effectiveness of IED attacks,” the “locations of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which would be known to the enemy,” “tactics, techniques and procedures for responding to IED attacks,” “sources and methods for intelligence agreements,” “anticipated enemy reactions” as well as information on local foreign nationals providing help with the locating of suspects. And, with regard to the Farah investigation, he said files contained graphics “showing troop movements.”

Stipulated testimony from Lt. Col. (Ret.) Martin Nehring was entered into the record. He had worked for CENTCOM and reviewed military incident reports from Iraq and the Farah investigation files that were compromised. The military incident reports contained information on general-type IED attacks, “types of vulnerabilities of locations,” “details of movements of US friendly forces,” fragmentary orders (FRAGOS), “project plans or protection services related to national security,” “limitations of US forces in the combat area,” “reports on IEDs and TTPs in response,” interactions between local leaders and the military on array of topics, troop locations and weapons locations and equipment used, TTPs for “detecting and responding to IED attacks,” capabilities of US Forces, the personal information for kidnapped service members and the TTPs for responding and locating service members.

Fifty-three reports from Iraq were apparently reviewed by Hoskins and, in addition to the above, they showed the “threat of attack in an area by a specific group,” revealed a previous reliable source of intelligence, “reported locations of IED attacks,” identified code words, friendly action, multiple enemy group names, reported lack of or loss of equipment, identified an enemy target name, detailed the arrest of a suspect and the detention of a suspect, as well as reported on “stated planned unit movements” and reported enemy casualties.

The Farah investigation files that were reviewed contained “operational activities including troop movements and weapons systems.”

What is important to know is that the Farah investigation files were never disseminated widely by WikiLeaks and the contents are not public. The files were just accessed and compromised.

Also, all of the military information the two witnesses reviewed would have been from before 2009. When the incident reports from Afghanistan and Iraq were published by WikiLeaks in July 2010, or October 2010, some of this information would no longer have been intelligence that could be used by any enemies or terrorists for attacks. So, while this all seems like military information one would not want to disclose because it would pose a risk to troops or military forces engaged in operations, it is important to contextualize this testimony by acknowledging this information was all historical.

Photo by hragv released under Creative Commons License

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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."