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Government Defends Admissibility of Evidence That It Thinks Shows Manning Conspired with WikiLeaks

Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is on trial at Fort Meade for releasing United States government information to WikiLeaks, does not face any conspiracy charges. However, this morning there were arguments on a motion that related to defense objections over evidence the prosecution would like to have admitted into the trial to help further their case that Manning was working on behalf of WikiLeaks.

One piece of evidence is a Google cache copy of a 2009 “Most Wanted” list that the media organization compiled by asking “journalists, activists, historians, lawyers, police, or human rights investigators” from around the world to submit examples of “concealed documents or recordings” they would like to see leaked. The copy was taken off of the “Wayback Machine” or website.

Another is this tweet:


Prosecutor Cpt. Alexander von Elten argued the tweets were authentic. Special Agent Mark Mander had gone to the WikiLeaks Twitter account. He had seen the tweet online. Then, he went to the Google cache version and located the tweet. The contents were similar. He pulled a copy of the tweets.

The tweets would “explain Pfc. Manning’s course of action,” Von Elten suggested.

Special Agent Alfred Williamson found five files on Manning’s computer created and deleted on May 13, 2010. They apparently contained .mil addresses. That would make the tweet requesting .mil addresses relevant.  It would show that Manning’s intent “was to compromise the .mil addresses.”

WikiLeaks said they had an encrypted video of bomb strikes of civilians and they needed a supercomputer. This would “explain the nature of WikiLeaks’ possession,” Von Elten said.

The organization admitted to having the video and needed to decrypt, which is “evidence they don’t have lawful possession of it.” Plus, Manning had mentioned the video WikiLeaks needed decryption in his chats with hacker and government informant Adrian Lamo.

It would be relevant to the “aiding the enemy” charge, because Manning may have had “knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plan to compromise classified information.”

“When there’s evidence of a plan, that evidence can also be used as proof of subsequent act,” Von Elten claimed. It’s “evidence they will compromise classified information in the future going forward.”

Cpt. Joshua Tooman for the defense stated that the “plan or state of mind of WikiLeaks has nothing to do with Pfc. Manning. They can plan or do whatever they want. That doesn’t affect Pfc. Manning.”

“Manning is not charged with conspiracy. What WikiLeaks intends to do, it doesn’t matter. It has no impact on Pfc. Manning,” Tooman asserted. [cont’d]

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

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