By Larry Shaughnessy
The officer who oversaw security at the military base where Bradley Manning was held for a time said on Wednesday he was not pressured by superiors to keep the Army private accused of leaking classified documents to the WikiLeaks website in a high-level lockup and under constant watch.
Marine Col. Robert Oltman said his decision to maintain maximum-security status for Manning during his eight-month confinement in Quantico in Virginia was borne out of caution.
Oltman said at a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland, for Manning that he recognized the case was high profile but told subordinates at the Marine base to "do what's right" and not "worry about somebody looking over your shoulder."
Manning's lawyers are trying to get the case thrown out - or at least any sentence reduced, if he's convicted - by claiming he was mistreated at the Quantico brig from July 2010 until he was moved to the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in April 2011.
By Mike Mount
U.S. Army private Bradley Manning is expected to take the stand for the first time this week as his lawyers plan to use his claim of mistreatment by military jailers to get his case thrown out.
The Army intelligence analyst is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and State Department documents while serving in Iraq. Many of them ended up on the WikiLeaks website. WikiLeaks has never confirmed that Manning was the source of the information.
Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, filed a motion last August to dismiss charges based on a claim, Manning says, of harsh treatment while held at the brig at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia.
The pre-trial hearing that starts Tuesday at Ft. Mead, Maryland, will be the first time Manning will have spoken in court other than answering procedural questions, said Jeff Paterson, a spokesman for the Bradley Manning Support Network.
By Ashley Fantz
Julian Assange made headlines Sunday by simply stepping onto an embassy balcony in London. The same day, the young man some say made Assange famous passed his 817th day behind bars.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning sat thousands of miles away in Kansas at Fort Leavenworth penitentiary. On a sprawling lot of farmland, Leavenworth is a historic place - once holding Al Capone and the George "Machine Gun" Kelly.
Less Capone than Beetle Bailey with his wire-rim glasses, skinny frame and computer savvy, Manning is still a notorious figure. He is suspected of being behind the largest leak of classified war time intelligence and diplomatic correspondence in United States history.
The government believes Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents while he worked as an intelligence analyst near Baghdad during the Iraq war. The government alleges Manning handed the information to WikiLeaks which sparked tremendous controversy when it began publishing it in late summer 2010.
The website WikiLeaks has posted emails stolen from a private security company that detail a surveillance system originally intended to help counter terrorism.
According to those WikiLeaks emails, 'TrapWire' is a program that was originally intended to provide law enforcement with information about suspicious activity captured by surveillance cameras in U.S. cities in an effort to help connect the dots and prevent a terrorist attack. But as Suzanne Kelly reports, it turns out that while this system may not be all that widely used, the notion of being watched around the clock isn't such a stretch.
A military judge denied a request Wednesday to dismiss all the charges against the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and State Department documents while serving in Iraq.
The charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, transmitting national defense information and theft of public property or records.
His trial date is set for September 21. He could go to prison for life if convicted.
In asking the court to dismiss all charges, Manning's lawyer alleged "widespread discovery violations" by military prosecutors, but the judge, Col. Denise Lind, rejected the dismissal motion.
Manning's lead lawyer, David Coombs, argued this week that because prosecutors did not understand the discovery rules, he and his fellow attorneys have not been given information that could help in Manning's defense.
The first blow came in December, when private analysis firm Stratfor - which gathers open-source and paid-source information on global issues for subscription-based clients - had its company e-mail hacked. It was reportedly the work of the loose-knit, yet well-feared group of hackers known as Anonymous.
This week, the second blow was delivered as the website WikiLeaks began posting what it says is a body of internal Stratfor e-mails numbering in the millions and reportedly laying out just how the sausage is made at a modern-day private intelligence firm. FULL POST
By Jennifer Rizzo
Pfc. Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army soldier accused in the biggest leak of intelligence documents in the military's history, was formally charged Thursday.
Aiding the enemy is a capital offense, but prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. If convicted on all the charges, Manning will likely face life in prison. The 24-year-old is suspected of giving hundreds of thousands of secret documents to the WikiLeaks website. FULL POST
By Adam Levine and Tim Lister, with reporting from Ted Barrett and Pam Benson
As part of its efforts to explore peace talks with the Taliban, the Obama administration is considering the controversial release of several senior Taliban figures from the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The names of those being considered for release have not been disclosed, and the conditions are still being discussed. But diplomatic sources say they would probably be relocated to Qatar in the Persian Gulf, where the Taliban is negotiating the establishment of a liaison office to facilitate dialogue with the U.S.
The administration has said any discussion about releasing the detainees is very preliminary and hinges on the Taliban renouncing terrorism and agreeing to peace talks.
But the proposal, confirmed in congressional testimony this week, has come under attack in Congress. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, said Thursday that the U.S. was "crossing a dangerous line" by discussing the possibility of releasing the prisoners.
And in a letter to President Obama, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, a former Marine officer who served in Afghanistan, warned that the release would "send the wrong message to the Taliban." FULL POST
By CNN's Pam Benson
The WikiLeaks disclosure of hundreds of thousands of American documents continues to cast a shadow over the U.S. intelligence community.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told an information-sharing conference Thursday that plugging leaks of classified materials is still a challenge for the community as it develops new systems to protect information while at the same time ensuring the right people have access to it.
WikiLeaks, the international online group that publishes secret government documents it receives from outside sources, set off a firestorm a year and a half ago when it made public on its website U.S. diplomatic cables and other sensitive documents, most of them pertaining to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
By Carol Cratty
A U.S. Army soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks came one step closer to a court-martial on Thursday. An investigating officer assigned to Pfc. Bradley Manning's case recommended he face a just such a military court for trial, the Army announced.
After an Article 32 hearing for Manning - which is the military's rough equivalent of a grand jury proceeding - the investigating officer concluded "reasonable grounds exist to believe that the accused committed the offenses alleged." The recommendation now goes Col. Carl Coffman, the "special court-martial convening authority." If he approves, the recommendation would then go to the commander of the military district of Washington for a final decision on Manning's case.
Manning, 24, is accused of committing the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history. The charges against him include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, transmitting national defense information, and theft of public property or records.