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

11:27 AM EST  Manning is convicted of stealing cables that the State Department still won’t admit in open court had actual DoS 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 classification authority or OCA for the 117 charged cables, according to O’Brien. This means he reviewed or was part of the decision to classify the 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 of non-political appointees at the State Department Kennedy 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. [cont’d.]
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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."