The verdict in the Bradley Manning case is expected tomorrow. Chase Madar has been covering the trial for the Nation. When the trial began, NBC Nightly News passed along the claims that Manning downloaded the names of 74,000 American soldiers serving in Iraq, apparently because Osama bin Laden “asked for this database.” We asked Madar about this assertion.
You had asked whether Manning had given a directory of 74,000 soldiers to Wikileaks, and via Wikileaks to Osama bin Laden.
The answer is no. The prosecution has tried to show that Manning downloaded the directory on to his work computer hard drive, but there is no evidence that he gave it to Wikileaks. Wikileaks has never published such a directory, and such a directory was never found on bin Laden’s computer.
We expect the judge, Denise Lind, to announce her verdict tomorrow. The real suspense is whether the aiding the enemy charges will stick, also the charges stemming from the Espionage Act of 1917. After the verdict is announced, sentencing hearings will begin during which the defense will argue as to Manning’s motive and the lack of any harm caused by the leaks–two important lines of argument that were not admitted in the actual trial.
I am optimistic that the aiding the enemy charge (a capital offense, tho’ the govt has made it clear they won’t seek the death penalty) will NOT stick, but I could be drunk on my own bleeding-heart Flavor-Aid here. Even without this charge sticking, the additional charges could still put him away for over 100 years. It’s all up to the judge, whose recently announced promotion to the American Criminal Court of Military Appeals is a little fishy, though not as fishy as Nixon offering the directorship of the FBI to Daniel Ellsberg’s Judge after that trial began 40 years ago.