Sentencing Phase of Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 4 (Live Updates)

State Dept. Ambassador Patrick Kennedy. Gov’t archive photo.

3:24 PM EST  That’s it for today’s proceedings. Court is in recess until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.

The defense argued that Manning stole both the Afghan and Iraq War Logs at the same time so the two offenses should be merged. If the defense wins those motions, the maximum punishment that Manning could face would go from 136 years to 80 years.

2:15 PM EST  The trial transcripts from the Freedom of the Press Foundation have been posted from Friday. You can review the August 2nd morning session here and the afternoon session here. For any other day’s transcripts, you can visit Firedoglake’s Trial Documents section.

1:50 PM EST Side note: New York artist Molly Crabapple has published some nice courtroom sketches, posted here on the Paris Review. Free-flowing graphic novel styled depictions intertwined with text in black and brown tones.

1:27 PM EST  Kennedy: “It’s Impossible to know what someone is not sharing with you. And that is in itself, I believe, a risk to national security.”

1:12 PM EST  The defense’s position appears to be that the State Department stopped analyzing the impact of cables because there was no longer any damage to be found.

Clarification from earlier: This is the investigation that Coombs highlighted when suggesting that Kennedy might have stopped an earlier investigation.

12:53 PM EST  Coombs pressed Kennedy on why the State Department has not completed a damage assessment on WikiLeaks’ disclosure of cables.

A second tranche of cables came out August 2011. The State Department had completed a damage assessment up to that point. But the State Department never continued to analyze “damage” from cable release beyond that, and currently it appears they will never complete the report.

Kennedy maintained that a “snapshot analysis” had “not been completed because damage continues to roll out.”

Semantically, Kennedy maintained that the State Department had not done an “investigation” of cables released. Rather, it had done an “analysis.”

Kennedy: “Don’t think that (my) pride goes to the point of saying that I will defend the State Department at any cost or defend the State Department when it is wrong.”

12:45 PM EST  Defense is cross-examining Patrick Kennedy. He’s pretty defensive and cagey, and engages in lot of semantics.

Coombs asked Kennedy about allegations against him that he stopped the investigation into an ambassador in Belgium, which the State Department IG is reviewing. Kennedy replied, “I would not stop an investigation just because it made the State Department look bad.”

Kennedy said he had no idea about allegations against him related to a halted investigation into an ambassador in Belgium, but they “happen to be entirely false” (even though he has no idea what those allegations are).

11:27 AM EST  Manning is convicted of stealing cables that the State Department still won’t admit in open court had actual Department of State information in them.

11:18 AM EST  The government is cross-examining Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary of State for Management, on the diplomatic cables response. Kennedy: “These disclosures had a chilling effect on foreign officials” – both government and non-government – to engage in frank discussions.

Defense objected to testimony from Kennedy any time he mentioned this alleged “chilling effect” on diplomats.

Kennedy on Hillary Clinton being involved in the response: “Individuals she would be dealing with would be reading the newspaper.”

Kennedy says they’re not “sources.” They’re “people we meet with.” (I’m going to try that if I have to defend myself from the government.)

Original Post:

One of the most powerful career diplomats at the United States State Department, Ambassador Patrick F. Kennedy, will testify in the sentencing phase of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial.

Independent journalist Alexa O’Brien put together some background information on Kennedy, which describes how the Diplomatic Security Services (DSS) reports to him and, as a partner with the Pentagon and Justice Department, has been a player in the investigation into WikiLeaks and Manning.

She cites testimony that Kennedy gave before the US Senate on working with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Information Review Task Force (IRTF) as early as July 2010 to review “alleged State Department material that was in WikiLeaks’ possession.” “Chiefs of Mission” at “affected” diplomatic posts were asked to review “State material in the release and provide an assessment, as well as a summary of the overall effect the WikiLeaks release could have on relations with the host country.”

The material had not been released, but by August 2010 the State Department was preparing for any possible release of information by WikiLeaks.

Kennedy happens to be the original person who reviewed the 117 cables. And the State Department gave two briefings to the House of Representatives and Senate just days after cables began to be published—one on December 2, 2010, and then twice in front of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on December 7 and 9, 2010.

Peter Van Buren, a former State Department employee and whistleblower, told Firedoglake that Kennedy, who was appointed by the president, is the most powerful.

“Kennedy has the ability to intercede in any assignment, discipline or promotion decision. He is one of a small handful who control the allocation of State’s budget to various embassies and offices,” Van Buren explained. “He has served many Secretary of States and know where many skeletons are in many closets.”

Plus, one of his primary roles has been to act as a “buffer between the political appointees that surround” the Secretary of State and the “rest of the career State Department FSOs.” He added, “Because Kennedy has his fingers in so many places that directly affect the lives and careers of people, when he asks for something to be done in a certain way, that happens. Nobody wants to not be well-liked by Kennedy.”

He has sought to protect the State Department from efforts to investigate the incident that occurred in Benghazi, Libya.


There will be rulings on what evidence is admissible during sentencing because the defense has challenged the prosecutors’ attempts to have the judge consider “could cause damage” testimony. Also, this week, the judge will issue “special findings” on the verdict.

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