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A copy of Manning's charge sheet  (Source: Boing Boing)

U.S. Army Intelligence officer, SPC Bradley Manning, in uniform  (Source: Wired)
Manning could face 70 years in prison for his crimes, but escapes the death penalty; DoD foes cry conspiracy

A U.S. military press release announced that a young intelligence official deeply involved with the nation's operations in Iraq has been charged with leaking confidential documents in gross violation of the U.S. Armed Force's digital policy and laws against espionage.

Pvt. 1st Class Bradley Manning, 22, of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in Iraq, a U.S. Military specialist, was charged with two separate counts under the Uniform Code of Military Justice: one encompassing the eight alleged criminal offenses, and a second detailing four non-criminal violations of Army regulations governing the handling of classified information and computers.

The biggest criminal charge facing Manning is violation of provisions with the Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. 793(e).  While passing confidential information to foreign governments can carry the death penalty under that act, in this case it was deemed that the information passed was to an unauthorized third-party, not a foreign nation.  Sources say those charges could carry a sentence of 50 to 70 years in prison -- a sentence which could potentially be shortened for cooperation or good behavior.

DailyTech has received information from a high ranking Department of Defense source involved with the the investigation, claiming that they had received no contact from attorneys retained and hired by the site that Manning allegedly leaked to -- Wikileaks.  This contradicts previous reports.  Wikileaks chief Julian Assange had previously stated that his efforts were rebuffed by U.S. government officials, a claim the DoD source states is believed to be false.

Manning will face a UCMJ Article 32 hearing, similar to one by a US grand jury.  That hearing will end with a recommendation by the principal investigator as to whether to subject Manning to court martial and punishment.

DailyTech has been extensively reporting on the situation, since Manning's arrest in May.  Manning had allegedly leaked a pair of gun cam videos of helicopter attacks which killed civilians in 2007 and 2009.  He also may have leaked other smaller, less consequential documents.  However, the leak that ultimately proved his undoing was his decision to allegedly release 260,000 classified U.S. embassy cables.  On those cables he remarked, " Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack."

That leak compelled ex-hacker Adrian Lamo whom Manning bragged of his crimes to, to turn the young man over to the Department of Defense.

Public reaction on the incident has been mixed, as evidenced by the comments received here at DailyTech.  Some accuse the U.S. Armed Forces of a vast conspiracy to cover up its wrongdoing, and call Manning a martyr for a cause. 

Others state that Manning lost any credibility as a legitimate whistleblower when he released the embassy cables, which he did not fully review.  They point out that while the gun cam release might be whistleblowing -- akin to releasing corporate documents indicting individuals in your company in criminal activity -- that the following release amounted to a direct attack on an organization, not whistleblowing.  They say that act would be akin to leaking your company's entire server records, including information on pending intellectual property.

Likewise the coverage on the issue has been sharply divided.  Wired and Cryptome have published criticism of Wikileaks' and Manning's actions, while and BoingBoing have taken a sympathetic stance. journalist Glenn Greenwald even went as far as to post to Twitter that he was having difficulty overcoming his "blinding contempt " of Lamo's actions, illustrating his clear bias.

The issue has been a serious one for all involved.  It has led to Lamo receiving death threats and becoming a reviled figure in the hacking community.  It obviously threatens to take away the freedom of Bradley Manning.  For the U.S. government it marks an embarrassing breach in information.  And for Wikileaks it threatens the site's very existence.

While Wikileaks has gained much publicity for leaking a variety of documents -- from documents indicting Kenyan officials on corruption to European banking documents -- its bread and butter has been leaking U.S. information.  Over two thirds of its pages either target the U.S. or its close ally Iraq.  That has led some to less than charitably question whether the site is behaving as a hostile foreign intelligence agency.  The site does not disclose its funding sources, other than to say funding comes from anonymous donors.

Site founder Julian Assange, a convicted hacker who has expressed anarchistic leanings in his past publications, has not made clear why his site primarily targets the U.S., disproportionately with respect to our nation's GDP and military spending levels.  He also has become increasingly fearful of U.S. retaliation in recent years, moving around the world, reportedly at great expense to the site.

As of last week Wikileaks' secure server system -- its backbone -- was dead, essentially rendering the page useless for leaking purposes.  The site has not published a leaked document in four months, but Assange is reportedly crafting a followup video to "Collateral Murder" about the 2009 airstrike.

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RE: Jason, are you totally deaf?
By Iksy on 7/7/2010 9:00:08 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't sound NEARLY as sensational though if you say "19 year old peon soldier snooping on an officers computer made illegal copies of movies that he did not understand the context of and was horrified to figure out that being in the military means trying to kill bad guys and was not the free ride he thought it might be. He then proceeded to post the movies on the internet, exposing our soldiers to more danger by revealing tactics and giving comfort to the enemy, in that they could then use the film to say again how bad the Americans are."

What needs to be released are the tapes of just how sick these people are that we're fighting. You know, for example the beheading of Daniel Pearl or the other true atrocities that have been committed. Or maybe the fact that you can get stoned to death for listening to music. Not hard core rap or anything like that, any music. And you don't even know what will happen if men and women mingle. Usually it's a slow horrible death for the female while often nothing happens to the male. Maybe if he had started by watching those movies, he'd begin to understand why we're fighting and why maybe a sheet of glass here or there wouldn't be such a bad thing.

War sucks, especially for those caught in theater. The problem is, was is sanitized for us. We don't see the abyss they are looking in to. We see just numbers, and then sensationalist crap like this. This is some punk a$$ kid who thought he was cool but had no clue to what he was doing or looking at. He is not any sort of hero, he did this entirely for his own ego, which is easily seen by the fact that he's bragging about it.

This boy is not a real soldier and personally I'm ashamed of his behavior.

RE: Jason, are you totally deaf?
By Daniel8uk on 7/7/2010 9:13:26 AM , Rating: 1
Your country is fighting for resources, nothing more, nothing less and if you think that you are fighting against the evil terrorists then you have truly fell for what the government and media want you to think.

The beheading's you mentioned, would this have taken place if America had stayed out of Iraq and Afghanistan, of course it wouldn't have, because you wouldn't have these countries full of people who NOW hate America, the UK, and pretty much all western countries.

America brought on this hatred themselves, and quite frankly they deserve it, if the people of America are willing to allow their army and airforce to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, to occupy foreign sovereign lands and to allow their troops to be stationed in those countries for decades, merely to protect pipelines, oil fields and natural resources, well then that's their own problem that they now have half the world hating them.

It's our fault in the UK as well, we should have outed the government as soon as they even proposed going to war, but we didn't and now we live in a world where there is real hatred for us, and we all deserve it, because we didn't act and protect the freedom of those poor people in the middle-east.

A real soldier fights what is right, the soldiers in the middle east now are just fighting for what ever their leaders tell them to, it's not war fare, it's mass murder.

RE: Jason, are you totally deaf?
By inperfectdarkness on 7/7/2010 10:45:50 AM , Rating: 2
you could not possibly be more of a liberal takfiri apologist.

there has NEVER been enough oil in iraq to "pay for the war". likewise, there isn't enough resources in afghanistan to pay for our presence there either--either directly or in principle.

the foes we fight aren't pissed becuase we're over there now, they're pissed because they still believe they have legitimate claims to spain and other areas that they had once occupied over a milennia ago. blaming it on current actions there is a scapegoat. we were ACTIVELY ENGAGED (on friendly terms) with the taliban before 9-11. yes, the government which DIRECTLY supported al-qaeda was treated diplomatically by the US. this dates back to the days when we helped them oust the soviets from their lands. 9-11 was the "thank-you" we got for our efforts.

our continued presence in these lands is necessary because stability of the new, non-oppressive government has not yet been fully achieved. until that happens, we will be forced to serve as a peacekeeping force unless we wish to abandon those states to the totalitarian autocratic regimes that previously occupied them.

you have clearly bought into the apologist media so wholeheartedly that you have lost all sense of historic accuracy, situational awareness, aptitude for the current strategic environment, and rational logic for solutions to the current problems we face. the reason obama quickly abandoned his "bring the troops home now" rhetoric once he was elected is because he VERY quickly realized that the liberal BS he'd bought into about "can't we all just hug and get along" won't work when the enemy is hellbent on killing you or dying in the attempt.

these aren't "poor people" who are upset over economic disparity. if that WERE the case, internal revolution would be what we're witnessing. instead, it's an oligarchy of middle and upper class zealots with ample funding who make it profitable for the poor to engage in terrorist practices. the poor go where the money is. the takfiri propaganda machine did the rest. instead of mercenaries, we're being led to believe that we're actually fighting "freedom fighters" who are "upset with the prosperous US not sharing the wealth".

what an utter load of crap. you don't see india hijacking airliners for use as flying bombs; and there's a LOT more poor and disenfranchised in india than in afghanistan and iraq COMBINED.

i would give you a -11 rating if i could.

RE: Jason, are you totally deaf?
By Iksy on 7/7/2010 11:35:36 AM , Rating: 2
That's the problem, no one bothers to look into the thousands of years of history that is involved here. They just look at the last 10 years and say it's all America's fault. So what if Justinian was fighting the same wars over nearly 1500 years ago.

RE: Jason, are you totally deaf?
By smut on 7/8/2010 5:13:36 AM , Rating: 1
What makes him a liberal? I am not sure at all how his comment makes him a liberal.

By inperfectdarkness on 7/8/2010 7:58:21 AM , Rating: 2
liberals are the ones who have traditionally been ready to apologize for the actions of terrorists. the ones who keep repeating the mantra "we deserve it", and "the terrorists are just misunderstood."

conservatives are the ones who feel we should do something about terrorists; namely offer them free muzzle velocity.

RE: Jason, are you totally deaf?
By Iksy on 7/7/2010 11:27:03 AM , Rating: 2
Wow... don't even know where to begin on this one.

Start with a simple question. How many Iranians or Iraqis do you PERSONALLY know. I know quite a few, all have no problem with America. They don't HATE us, their isolationist governments hate us because we're a threat to their power. You know, the governments that ruthlessly kill their OWN people who challenge their power. Somehow I don't think that's our fault.

"and we all deserve it, because we didn't act and protect the freedom of those poor people in the middle-east." Now that's the funniest dang thing I've seen in a while. Try studying middle east history. I'd suggest starting with the Byzantines and working your way up, then you'll have a better understanding. I've been there, listened to them brag about slaughtering camels in the middle of the road as the king went by. Our culture of equality is very threatening to them.

Anyways, you're obviously quite young and uninformed on how the real world works, so there is really no point in continuing to debate this with you. Seriously, unplug and get your own opinion. Read the histories, study the people, then make decisions. Don't repeat someone else's idiocy, use that brain you seem to have and get informed.

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