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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 Salon.com and BoingBoing have taken a sympathetic stance.  Salon.com 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 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 bullets....at muzzle velocity.


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