Published On: Fri, Aug 31st, 2012

Bradley Manning case complicated as government ‘excises’ evidence

In addition to their 22 charged offenses, prosecutors can use uncharged conduct by alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning to undermine his defense that he was a “good soldier” before his arrest, a military judge ruled Thursday.

US Army photo Bradley Manning

Pfc. Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of files, including classified information, to the WikiLeaks website.

So far, the court has referred to his uncharged offenses by number to protect his privacy.

Presiding judge, Col. Denise Lind, revealed on Wednesday that Manning’s creation of a YouTube video to tell his family of a mission he called “secret” and “top secret,” could be played at the trial if they show it is relevant to their allegations.

Later, the parties elaborated their arguments on whether to admit statements by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicating that the WikiLeaks releases had little impact on national security.

The government has been fighting to bar the evidence at trial or at sentencing.

“I understand that we’re in a unique situation here,” Lind said.

The defense attorney noted that high-ranking government officials like Clinton and Gates are commonly referred to as “equity holders” of classified information, saying “They have skin in the game.”

Calling them disinterested “doesn’t really hold water,” Tooman said.

National Security Administration whistleblower Thomas Drake, said that government lawyers tried the same maneuver on him before their prosecution against him collapsed. Like Manning, Drake was charged with violating the Espionage Act for allegedly disclosing classified information.

“They tried to excise out any of the articles that were published,” Drake told reporters, referring to his one-time prosecutors. “It was as if that history never existed.”

His lawyer, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, added, “Obviously, they want to back away from what government officials have said,” referring to the Manning case.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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