Outside The Wire

MANNING WATCH: Did he or didn’t he?

(Patrick Semansky / AP)
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted into a courthouse May 21 in Fort Meade, Md., before a pretrial military hearing. Manning, who is scheduled to face a court-martial beginning June 3, is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified records to WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad.

Week two of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial centered around piles of evidence, and whether or not some of the 700,000 battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and video clips he released online contained information America’s enemies could use against troops.

At the Fort Meade, Md., trial, the prosecution argued that the leak revealed names of criminal suspects and at least one enemy target, as well as techniques for detecting and disarming improvised explosive devices.

On Wednesday, the infamous “Collateral Murder” video — the first released by WikiLeaks — came under scrutiny. It depicts a July 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad which resulted in the deaths of two Reuters journalists.

The prosecution argued that the cockpit video showed glimpses of the control panel, broadcasting the helicopter’s airspeed and angles of engagement.

“Enemies can anticipate U.S. operations and plan more effective attacks as a result,” helicopter expert and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jon LaRue said in a statement.

Also Wednesday, the defense won an objection that calls into question three of the 21 counts against Manning. The Army failed to produce a computer disclosure agreement Manning was to have signed after arriving in Iraq in 2009.

Manning allegedly violated the agreement in three of charges he faces: two military charges for adding unauthorized software to his work computer and one federal computer fraud charge for exceeding his authorized access.

There is also some disagreement about when exactly Manning started leaking documents. The government alleges that he started sending information within weeks of arriving in Iraq, but an Army computer forensics specialist found no evidence that anything in Manning’s possession made it onto WikiLeaks in 2009.

Despite all of the elements of the case, a Military District of Washington spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the trial is moving along ahead of schedule, as much as a week or two.

Testimony is set to resume Monday.

 

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