Bin Laden obtained classified cables leaked by Bradley Manning to Wikileaks, prosecutors claim

A bizarre charge in an already bizarre trial: prosecutors in the US-v-Manning case say Osama bin Laden got classified cables Bradley Manning passed to Wikileaks.

The NYT reports that "Military prosecutors preparing to try Pfc. Bradley Manning said on Wednesday that they would introduce evidence that Osama bin Laden requested and received from a Qaeda member some of the State Department cables and military reports that Private Manning is accused of passing to WikiLeaks."

The prosecutors also plan to present chat logs from 2010 between Manning and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange "in which the two men appeared to be 'laughing' together about a New York Times article."

Related reading: Michael Calderone at HuffPo points out some elements in the ongoing hearings that should concern journalists and bloggers. Amy Davidson at the New Yorker writes:
Can anyone aid the enemy by giving information to a reporter? Are reporters aiding the enemy if they publish it—and who, by the way, is “the enemy”?
And while the judge acknowledges that Manning faced "harsh treatment" in pre-trial detention, that abuse won't cause the case to be dropped.


  1. The united states has never had an official secrets act and that was proven with the pentagon papers, Ellesberg would still be in prison otherwise.

    1. Manning is not an object.

      Manning has a voice.

      We can only acknowledge the name by which he/she currently chooses to be identified. We do not have any public statement from Manning indicating that he/she wishes to be acknowledged as a transperson or female; only old chat logs leaked without Manning’s consent which are difficult to authenticate and may or may not represent his/her current wishes.

      When “Bradley Manning” asks the world to begin using the name “Breanna Manning,” and the female gender instead of the male, I will happily be the first to share this news.

        1. Sure, and it’s used here in that spirit. But “Private” isn’t Manning’s first name, and it’s silly to use that as a way to get around referencing the name at the center of the government’s legal action. I’m going with the name on the legal papers.

          1. It’s just sad that this poor person has been and is currently subject to 1. a government witch-hunt 2. brutal long-term solitary confinement, complete with extra bonus cruel treatment 3. endless ridicule and speculation about their sexuality on the Internet 4. trial by media 5. no family visitation and 6. probably has no idea any of this external stuff is going down.   


            I don’t believe in God, but please, God, help us.

  2. As Glenn Greenwald points out, Bin Laden also got access to classified material that was leaked to Bob Woodward, and this was valuable to his propaganda effort; he recommended that Americans read Woodward’s book, “Obama’s War”. Woodward got access to Top Secret information; nothing Manning leaked was so highly classified, because Manning didn’t have access.  So does Bob Woodward get the death penalty too?

      1. You don’t have to be a member of the military to be prosecuted for leaking classified documents or for “aiding and abetting the enemy.”  

        Manning’s problem was that he leaked classified information (though not as classified as the information that Woodward leaked) that made the U.S. government look bad.

      2.  “Bob Woodward didn’t sign a legally binding non-disclosure statement promising not to disseminate specific information”

        However, Woodward’s source(s) most certainly did.

    1. Anybody who can laugh during the War on Terror is clearly on the enemy side.  Patriotic Americans are too terrified to laugh.

  3. “Bin Laden obtained classified cables leaked by Bradley Manning to Wikileaks”

    Big deal.  So did anyone else who wanted to download them at that time from multiple sites.  And they were only classified as secret, some perhaps secret noforn, because that was the level of _general_ classification for the particular network Manning was on.  That’s generally bubble gum garbage material in the overclassified world of military and state department traffic.  The “good stuff” is top secret and above, “above top secret” meaning special access programs:

  4. It also seems possible that Osama Bin Laden inhaled some of the same air molecules exhaled by Bradley Manning.

    Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

  5. Oy vey.  Please don’t tell me that the Gubmint is actually trying to “Emanuel Goldstein” Manning.  Not only is he against Big Brother, but he met with The Ultimate Enemy DIRECTLY.


  6. You know that you are totally screwed when the government cooks up some way to link your case to Bin Laden.

  7. The way the judge has responded to the pre-trial treatment he has received demonstrates the judge has already sentenced BM and this is just a show for the public to make it look like it was all properly conducted, and the trial was fair, but he is guilty anyway. The judge clearly is acting on orders from above.

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