Bradley Manning trial clearly too secretive or something

posted at 9:31 am on May 26, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

It’s been a while since we checked in on our old pal Breanna Bradley Manning and her his ongoing saga of alleged treason. When we last caught up with the accused traitor and abettor of enemy interests, he was seeking to have the charges against him dismissed because they were too vague. The judge gave that argument roughly the same credence as your average episode of Finding Bigfoot, but don’t think for a moment that this minor setback deterred the defense. They’ve come up with a new plan. The trial isn’t valid because finding out if Private Manning released all of our government secrets to the enemy is… (wait for it…) too secretive.

The military trial of the WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning is being conducted amid far more secrecy than even the prosecution of the alleged 9/11 plotters in Guantanamo, a coalition of lawyers and media outlets protest.

Led by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, the coalition has petitioned the Army court of criminal appeals calling for the court-martial against Manning to be opened up to the press and public. The group complains that the way the trial is being handled by the trial judge Colonel Denise Lind is a violation of the First Amendment of the constitution that requires public access unless the government can specifically demonstrate the need for secrecy.

(Emphasis mine above)

So… OK then. Manning is accused of releasing a treasure trove of secrets in a scatter-shot fashion, many of which involved sensitive diplomatic and military communications. But the trial is invalid because prosecutors can’t demonstrate the information being discussed during testimony is secret enough?

As I asked in the previous column linked above… is this guy actually getting a real defense from his attorneys? Or could this be a ploy to act in such an incredibly inept fashion that they can shoot for a mistrial later on? I’ve lost track of any sensible thread in all of this.

Could anyone really take this seriously? Apparently so.

Discuss.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

The travesty about this case like so many others (Ft. Hood comes to mind) is that his co-defendants should be his direct supervisors and their officer.

Chain of command works both ways. Or at least it used to.

CorporatePiggy on May 26, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Doesn’t he want to be called Brenna now?

vityas on May 26, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Or could this be a ploy to act in such an incredibly inept fashion that they can shoot for a mistrial later on?

Doubt it. More likely his lawyers recognize that he’s guilty as sin and so they’re just throwing every thing they can think of against the wall to see if anything sticks.

AZCoyote on May 26, 2012 at 9:38 AM

It seems even the military courts move at a glacial pace now. In WWII, Manning would have already had her firing squad.

Speaking of which, why is Assange still breathing?

18-1 on May 26, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Weren’t they championing the idea it was ‘the gayness’ that made him do what he did?

How many defense plans have they been through?

EnglishRogue on May 26, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Casualty in the life lost already starting due to the leaked sensitive information.

Long term implication is still yet to unfold.

I hope people realize that. This is beyond anyone’s politics.

Sir Napsalot on May 26, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Doubt it. More likely his lawyers recognize that he’s guilty as sin and so they’re just throwing every thing they can think of against the wall to see if anything sticks.

AZCoyote on May 26, 2012 at 9:38 AM

That’s exactly what it is. They can’t mount a defense so they’re just using every lawyer trick in the book to make it appear they’re doing something. I hope they told their client how screwed he is.

lowandslow on May 26, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Cage fight to the death with hammers, this tird and Nidal Hasan, then I get to shoot the winner.

Akzed on May 26, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Military justice has significant advantages over the civil side. The jury is made up of highly educated members (officers and senior enlisted), with service as leaders and operators. The jury can ask questions if there is an omission or obfuscation. All in the jury have already been exposed to Article 15 or Captain’s Mast, where minor offenses are looked into. And finally, they have skin in the game, as a miscarriage of justice may directly affect them.

Releasing a guilty blabber can compromise the juries own safety in the future.

NaCly dog on May 26, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Or could this be a ploy to act in such an incredibly inept fashion that they can shoot for a mistrial later on?

Ineffective assistance of counsel? I’m sure the army made sure he got top notch lawyers (doesn’t he have army lawyers?) so playing this angle is only going to fall on deaf ears. Defense has nothing, so they’re trying to appeal to the public, create enough of a firestorm in order to get a lenient sentence. As the prosecution has put the death penalty off the table, he’s getting a lenient life in Leavenworth anyway. But his defense team wants him eventually released.

rbj on May 26, 2012 at 9:44 AM

What’s the matter doesn’t Manning like life at Ft Leavenworth? I would think by now he would involved in the social life and speed dating etc…LOL!

Dr Evil on May 26, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Hmm, a traitor releases information which aids the enemy and his attorney complains the trial is too secretive. Does this attorney want Manning to become the poster child for public executions?

I’ve participated in a few courts martial during my career (mainly as a prisoner escort) and never heard of garbage like this.

Just shoot Manning and save the government some money.

jackal40 on May 26, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Weren’t they championing the idea it was ‘the gayness’ that made him do what he did?

Wouldn’t that make the case we shouldn’t allow homosexuals in the military at all?

18-1 on May 26, 2012 at 9:46 AM

The motion specifically targets the government’s use of the phrases, “relating to the national defense” and “to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”

If such phrases are in the laws, and might be considered unConstitutionally vague, then the defense has a point. But usually an indictment lists one or more sane examples (usually the more egregious ones) of these instances.

I have no doubt that the indictment shows at least one case where an intelligence asset died as a result of Manning’s acts, and at least one case where the United States was placed at a diplomatic disadvantage as a result of his acts, and at least one case where an American suffered harm or death as a result of Manning’s acts.

Now, when Bradley Manning was briefed, I’m sure he didn’t take exception at the wording of the documents he had to sign to be given access to the material he eventually compromised. But, if the Army did due diligence, said document exists, and it will be up to the interpretation of the judges as to whether Mr. Manning met his legal obligation to protect the information entrusted to him.

unclesmrgol on May 26, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Ineffective assistance of counsel? I’m sure the army made sure he got top notch lawyers (doesn’t he have army lawyers?)

rbj on May 26, 2012 at 9:44 AM

I’m not sure if he has Army lawyers as well, (he might) but David Coombs is a civilian. I interviewed him last year.

Jazz Shaw on May 26, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Military justice has significant advantages over the civil side. The jury is made up of highly educated members (officers and senior enlisted), with service as leaders and operators. The jury can ask questions if there is an omission or obfuscation. All in the jury have already been exposed to Article 15 or Captain’s Mast, where minor offenses are looked into. And finally, they have skin in the game, as a miscarriage of justice may directly affect them.

Releasing a guilty blabber can compromise the juries own safety in the future

All true. Enlisted people have a choice of a jury of officers or enlisted, only a fool of an enlisted man would chose a jury of enlisted service members. Also, there may be appeals, but I have never heard of a military trial where the defendant used the “inadequate defense” argument to get a new trial and it worked. I do hope Mr/Ms Manning’s lawyer has informed him/her how screwed it is. If Manning is lucky life at Leavenworth will be the sentence.

Mini-14 on May 26, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Bradley Manning, just your average gay activist.

Speakup on May 26, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Defense attorneys for Army Pvt. First Class Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of illegally obtaining and leaking thousands of classified military and government files to the anti-secrecy group Wikileaks, have raised questions about whether his confusion over his gender identity affected his behavior and decision making at the time of his alleged acts.

Witnesses at today’s pre-trial hearing were asked by defense attorneys if they knew that Manning is gay and suffered from gender identity disorder. They noted that he had created a female alter ego, calling himself Breanna Manning.

Pressed by Manning’s defense team, several Army investigators who testified at today’s pre-trial hearing said that in the course of their investigation they became aware of Manning’s female alter ego. They also knew that a search of Manning’s room in Baghdad found medical information about female hormone treatments for people with gender identity disorder.

Prosecutors objected to the defense’s line of questioning, but Maj. Matthew Kemkes, Manning’s military attorney, said raising Manning’s homosexuality and his gender identity disorder was important because it would show “what was going on in my client’s mind.”

ABC news last December. The tranny defense.

Wethal on May 26, 2012 at 10:03 AM

….is JugEars getting visitation rights?

KOOLAID2 on May 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM

An openly homosexual Army PFC with a top secret security clearance, serving with a grudge against his superiors and his country. Firing squad immediately, and no more openly homosexuals in the ranks. I am retired Navy, it just leads to complete ruin. Don’t care what Obama says or leftists on congress.

mike0993 on May 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM

ABC news last December. The tranny defense.

Wethal on May 26, 2012 at 10:03 AM

They would have to prove that experiencing transgender behavior equals insanity. I am sure the transgender community would have a vocal response to such a defense.

Dr Evil on May 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM

The judge gave that argument roughly the same credence as your average episode of Finding Bigfoot,

Don’t be dissing Finding Bigfoot…

ladyingray on May 26, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Witnesses at today’s pre-trial hearing were asked by defense attorneys if they knew that Manning is gay and suffered from gender identity disorder. They noted that he had created a female alter ego, calling himself Breanna Manning.

Too bad ‘Breanna’ didn’t turn up when he went to enlist.

EnglishRogue on May 26, 2012 at 10:10 AM

It’s been a while since we checked in on our old pal Breanna Bradley Manning and her his ongoing saga of alleged treason.

Awww… You’re no fun anymore.

BigGator5 on May 26, 2012 at 10:14 AM

They would have to prove that experiencing transgender behavior equals insanity. I am sure the transgender community would have a vocal response to such a defense.

Dr Evil on May 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Are you kidding? Eric Holder is probably planning to tell the miilitary that they must allow cross-dressing, and guys in skirts can use the ladies room. ;)

Wethal on May 26, 2012 at 10:19 AM

How about we call him Privates Manning ?
I feel a pardon coming .

Lucano on May 26, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Cage fight to the death with hammers, this turd and Nidal Hasan, then I get to shoot the winner.

Akzed on May 26, 2012 at 9:42 AM

…I’ll sell tickets!…you sell the refreshments.

KOOLAID2 on May 26, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Mr. Manning? Phone call from Private Eddie Slovik… something about “Treason” being far worse than “Desertion.”

VastRightWingConspirator on May 26, 2012 at 11:05 AM

A military member doesn’t enjoy the same safeguards in a military court that a civilian enjoys in a civilian court. I cannot fathom why this hasn’t been decided and Manning summarily executed months and years ago. There is no possible defense that would be considered by the military other than “I didn’t do it”, and clearly, Manning did it. His guilt is incontrovertible and the punishment is clear: treason during wartime is punishable by death.

Immolate on May 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM

I said it a year ago and I’ll say it again.

Manning will NEVER see the light of day again.

They won’t execute him but his life will end in a Military Prison many years from now.

RockyJ. on May 26, 2012 at 12:09 PM

His guilt is incontrovertible and the punishment is clear: treason during wartime is punishable by death.

Immolate on May 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM

The problem is he wasn’t charged with treason. NONE of the charges against him carry the death penalty IIRC.

SgtSVJones on May 26, 2012 at 12:11 PM

The travesty about this case like so many others (Ft. Hood comes to mind) is that his co-defendants should be his direct supervisors and their officer.

Chain of command works both ways. Or at least it used to.

CorporatePiggy on May 26, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Hardly. They’re all adults. An individual chain of command can’t be expected to babysit every person under their charge, especially not one that was granted Top Secret (SCI) security clearance by the DoD. Those are the people that the government most expects to be trustworthy.

Bottom line is, he was sneaky and stole classified information of his own accord. At worst, some of those along his chain of command might each receive an LOR, but even that would be undeserved, as they were more than likely following the proper protocol that was expected of them.

mintycrys on May 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM

I think the protests should be secret too.

And what’s with the big slam against bigfoot out of nowhere. What did he ever do to you?

StubbleSpark on May 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Hardly. They’re all adults. An individual chain of command can’t be expected to babysit every person under their charge, especially not one that was granted Top Secret (SCI) security clearance by the DoD. Those are the people that the government most expects to be trustworthy.

Bottom line is, he was sneaky and stole classified information of his own accord. At worst, some of those along his chain of command might each receive an LOR, but even that would be undeserved, as they were more than likely following the proper protocol that was expected of them.

mintycrys on May 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM

I do agree with most of your comment in principle. Well stated too. And there probably isn’t a bigger defender of the military than me. But I will say that in the last couple years of being in, the access to SIPR nets and what was posted on them was very concerning. Material was controlled better before. Than Manning tookj advantage of the system makes him no less dispicable or guilty in my eyes, but a look to the future. I hope The Army has at least cracked down on access and supervision.

hawkdriver on May 26, 2012 at 1:22 PM

mintycrys on May 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM

He burned data onto CDs and DVRs. The fact that that is even physically possible (machines should be locked down and do not need RW drives in the vast majority of cases) is nothing short of outrageous incompetence that someone higher up the food chain should have to answer for.

There were systemic problems as with Major Hassan who practically telegraphed his jihadist intentions not only to his equals but to his commanders.

But they will all skate no doubt and this will be called an anomaly.

It was not always so.

CorporatePiggy on May 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

It seems even the military courts move at a glacial pace now. In WWII, Manning would have already had her firing squad.

Speaking of which, why is Assange still breathing?

18-1 on May 26, 2012 at 9:39 AM

I completely agree. It’s frustrating to me that not do the leftist Gandhi the cow manure eater fans disagree with us, but there are mean right-wingers who disagree with us. Swift justice doesn’t have to be a kangaroo court if we are open-minded and responsible. In fact, the 6th Amendment guarantees a speedy trial for the defendant. If the Founding Fathers had know about today. They would also have added a clause about speedy trial for the benefit of the victim.

thuja on May 26, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Could anyone really take this seriously?

It’s a predictable strategy. Manning’s “lawyers” don’t have a defense. Manning did indeed cause great harm to this nation by leaking classified documents. So, the defense strategy is to put the US Army on trial. In other words, that it is the Army and not Manning that is at fault.

Manning is a scumbag and anyone who would defend him is even worse. Yeah, I know the old “lawyers are merely advocates for their clients” meme but there is a big difference between making sure the scumbag gets due process and try to get him off even though it is clear he is guilty.

Happy Nomad on May 26, 2012 at 3:58 PM

But they will all skate no doubt and this will be called an anomaly.

It was not always so.

CorporatePiggy on May 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

I agree with you about the procedures. Every SCIF I’ve worked in limited RW capability to a few machines and any recordable device isn’t permitted.

But, I’m not so sure that those who allowed the lax procedures will get away with it. Something tells me that the other shoe will drop after trial. Keep in mind the defense wants to put the US Army on trial and posit that dear little innocent Bradley is being used as a scapegoat for the faults of other senior personnel.

In any case, there was no question that what Bradley Manning was doing was wrong and he knew it as he was committing what essentially is treason even if the prosecution figured out (correctly) that it is easier to keep this bastard behind bars for a very long time with lesser charges than treason.

Happy Nomad on May 26, 2012 at 4:08 PM

The judge gave that argument roughly the same credence as your average episode of Finding Bigfoot

Have they tried looking in the White House?

I denounce myself.

tom on May 26, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Cage fight to the death with hammers, this tird and Nidal Hasan, then I get to shoot the winner.

Akzed on May 26, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Shouldn’t we have a raffle for charity or something? We should all have a chance at this fine opportunity.

kim roy on May 26, 2012 at 4:38 PM

He burned data onto CDs and DVRs. The fact that that is even physically possible (machines should be locked down and do not need RW drives in the vast majority of cases) is nothing short of outrageous incompetence that someone higher up the food chain should have to answer for.

There were systemic problems as with Major Hassan who practically telegraphed his jihadist intentions not only to his equals but to his commanders.

But they will all skate no doubt and this will be called an anomaly.

It was not always so.

CorporatePiggy on May 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

That’s good for a start but there’s always a way. Our PCs at work are like that, as I found when I tried to move stuff off a computer that was being replaced. What I ended up doing was emailing it to one of my email accounts and then emailing it back to the new PC. I could have cut and paste sensitive information into an email and sent it. Not sure if email is being watched as it should be.

All those roadblocks do is make people more creative. Not telling you anything you don’t already know, but it all comes down to the character of the person with the information. Sometimes people change or get through the firewalls.

Maybe *people* need to be assessed every so often.

kim roy on May 26, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Leave an extremely strong feather boa in his cell.

And hope he does the right thing.

profitsbeard on May 26, 2012 at 7:06 PM

If I remember correctly, the UCMJ allows appropriate portions of a court-marital to be classified.

And PFCs don’t have the authority to decide something is over classified.

PKO Strany on May 26, 2012 at 7:45 PM

I’m still confused of how he is being tried for treason. If the government wasn’t doing immoral things then this wouldn’t even be an issue. Who’s the REAL badguy in all of this? I’d say it is our government. Like usual…

RightXBrigade on May 27, 2012 at 12:52 AM

RightXBrigade on May 27, 2012 at 12:52 AM

Manning is a traitor and you’re a f’ing idiot.

hawkdriver on May 27, 2012 at 7:40 AM

The motion specifically targets the government’s use of the phrases, “relating to the national defense” and “to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”

If such phrases are in the laws, and might be considered unConstitutionally vague, then the defense has a point. But usually an indictment lists one or more sane examples (usually the more egregious ones) of these instances.

unclesmrgol on May 26, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Those phrases relate to definitions of various levels of classified material. Those definitions are not vague at all, of themselves. However, those who are charged with classifying an item or a communication, must often employ subjective judgement regarding which definition best fits, and therefore which level of classification to apply, as there can be ambiguities over the potential harm related to the improper release of the item in question.

What is never in question, is that once classified, only an entity of equal or higher authority can raise the classification of an item, and only an entity of higher authority can downgrade or rescind the classification. Any attempt to suggest that Manning acted appropriately fails under those regulations. And there would be no burden of proof that actual harm has resulted from his actions. The release of the classified items constitutes exposure to the potential harm, and that is the violation itself, whether or not the potential is realized.

An individual chain of command can’t be expected to babysit every person under their charge, especially not one that was granted Top Secret (SCI) security clearance by the DoD. Those are the people that the government most expects to be trustworthy.

mintycrys on May 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Not so. there is no presumption of trust regarding classified materials. Items classified above Confidential (or Unclass NoForn) requires Two-Person Integrity from cradle to grave. Safes for such material are all double-combination locked, with strict controls over no person having both combinations in their possession. There is a failure in the system for Manning to have been in contact with the materials unattended by a second party, and for that, someone higher in the chain of command should be accountable. But that is irrelevant to Manning’s actions and intentions.

Freelancer on May 28, 2012 at 11:48 PM

kim roy on May 26, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I cannot speak for the systems of the other services, but the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) has a triple-entry login (ID Smart Card, Bio-scan, PIN) which ensures what is called non-repudiation. That means that anything done under your login is done by you, with no denial recourse. If you leave a machine logged in, unlocked, with your ID card in the reader (pulling it logs out immediately), you are rightly liable for any actions taken on that machine.

Email attachments within the NMCI are indeed subject to surveillance. Encrypted emails can be sent using PKI, but classified materials are still not permitted on “black” (unclassified) systems, they must be emailed using the “red” (classified) SIPRNET. Violations are subject to very severe penalties, all of which end up at Leavenworth.

Freelancer on May 29, 2012 at 12:01 AM