Aunt’s Statement At Manning Trial Becomes Evidence
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — The mountain of classified material Army Pfc. Bradley Manning gave to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks revealed sensitive information about military operations and tactics, including code words and the name at least one enemy target, according to evidence the government presented Tuesday.
Manning, a 25-year-old Oklahoma native, has said he didn’t believe the more than 700,000 battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and video clips he leaked while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad would hurt national security. Prosecutors want to convict him of aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence, for leaking information they say found its way to Osama bin Laden.
For the first time, prosecutors presented evidence that Manning’s leaks compromised sensitive information in dozens of categories. The evidence was in the form of written statements the defense and prosecutors accepted as substitutions for live testimony. It was read aloud in court.
In one statement, a classification expert, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Martin Nehring, said his review of Afghanistan and Iraq battlefield reports revealed techniques for neutralizing improvised explosives, the name of an enemy target, the names of criminal suspects and troop movements.
Navy Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Hoskins said his review of leaked Afghanistan battlefield reports found they revealed code words, tactics and techniques for responding to roadside bombings, weapon capabilities and assistance the United States had gotten from foreign nationals in locating suspects.
The evidence also covered leaked material from the Army’s investigation into a 2009 airstrike in Afghanistan’s Farah province that killed at least 26 civilians in the village off Garani. Manning has acknowledged leaking investigation documents and video of the airstrike. The leaked material forms the basis for one of eight federal espionage charges.
Prosecutors also presented a statement from Manning’s aunt Debra Van Alstyne, who talked about her interview with Army investigators at her Maryland home in June 2010, shortly after Manning’s arrest.
She said one of them asked her how Manning felt about the Army.
“I knew that Brad was proud of his job and of being in the Army,” Van Alstyne said in her statement.
She also said an investigator collected a digital camera data card Manning had sent her that was found to contain some of the leaked Iraq battlefield reports and video of an Apache helicopter attack WikiLeaks had posted in which civilians were killed.
She said Manning called her after his arrest and asked if she had watched the helicopter video. She said he told her the video would be “big news” and that it would make a “big splash” in America.
Prosecutors began the day by presenting evidence Manning used his work computer to access a classified 2008 Army counterintelligence report about the possibility that WikiLeaks posed a national security threat. The evidence indicated Manning first accessed the report Dec. 1, 2009, about three weeks after he started work in Baghdad.