With the identity of Edward Snowden, the whistleblower behind disclosures on National Security Agency top secret surveillance programs, forming a backdrop that dominated the news, Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial entered its second week.
Another whistleblower, who the military has aggressively prosecuted for releasing US government information to WikiLeaks, the trial received minimal attention from media this week. The number of reporters in the media center was down to around ten. Both The Guardian and the New York Times were missing in action.
The following are some of the significant developments that occurred in the trial against the soldier who released US government information to WikiLeaks.
—Defense supports crowd-funded stenographers’ presence at the trial
“We believe that this enforces Pfc. Manning’s Sixth Amendment right to a public trial and also impacts on a First Amendment right for the press to accurately keep track of what happens in the court-martial,” defense attorney David Coombs declared on June 10.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) raised tens of thousands of dollars to send stenographers to the trial to produce transcripts, since the United States military refuses to make transcripts available. They submitted a letter to military judge Army Col. Denise Lind on the first day of the trial that was supported by major media organizations. The letter requested press passes to allow professional court stenographers access to the media room” so they could “transcribe the public portions of the court martial.”
The judge said, “In light of the public interest in this case, in light of the unique circumstances of this case, in light of the assertion by PFC Manning that this stenographer procedure will further his rights to a Sixth Amendment right to a public trial and also obviously further the public’s First Amendment right to a public trial, the court has ordered the government to arrive at some kind of accommodation to allow stenography of the proceedings of this trial.”
—Army Counterintelligence Center senior analyst testifies on center’s report on WikiLeaks
Sheila Glenn, a senior analyst with the cyber counterintelligence assessment branch, testified on her role in the production of an Army Counterintelligence Center (ACIC) report in 2008 titled, “Wikileaks.org—An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?” The report was disclosed to WikiLeaks by Manning and was self-initiated, meaning a few analysts thought it might be good to have a report on this potential “threat.”
The prosecution had Glenn read the following: “It must be presumed that Wikileaks organization have or will receive sensitive or classified documents in the future. It must also be presumed that foreign adversaries will review and assess any DoD or classified information posted on the Wikileaks.org website.”
When the defense cross-examined her, she admitted the analysts could only “presume” but not “confirm” that the website was used by foreign intelligence, foreign military services, foreign insurgents or terrorist groups to collect sensitive or classified US Army information. She played a game of semantics saying, “Not necessarily that I don’t know for sure. I cannot confirm the source is accurate,” but did concede, “We couldn’t confirm it at that time that they visited Wikileaks.”
And, at one point, Glenn read for the record that the impact of releasing this report would be “insight into a successful asymmetric warfare tactic technique and protection operation against US forces and coalition forces.” [cont’d.]