Manning Chose Documents for Release as Selectively as Snowden

From Reader Supported News:

By Bill Simpich
12 June 13

Journalists like Raf Sanchez of the Daily Telegraph claim that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was more selective in his releases than Pfc. Bradley Manning. With no evidence, Sanchez claims that Manning “at some point simply threw open the box and hoped for the best.” Yes, Manning released 700,000 documents, but that was not simply a data dump. It is the quality and nature of the documents that has to be analyzed.

Snowden has revealed two highly secret NSA surveillance programs, with the promise of more to come. Ellsberg points out that Manning’s documents were at a lower level of classification than the Pentagon Papers, which exposed Johnson administration policy decisions on Vietnam. Manning’s documents focused on war crimes and corruption at the ground level. His revelations about the Tunisian government led to the Arab Spring. Ellsberg says that Manning’s exposure of American war crimes led to the Iraqi government refusing to grant American troops immunity and ensuring the total withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq.

If reporters like Sanchez would take a few minutes out to review the court record, they’d realize that Bradley Manning was very selective in choosing the documents that he released to Wikileaks. Manning also knew that Wikileaks would exercise good judgment in catching anything he might have missed. Wikileaks was very careful in reviewing the documents again and redacting appropriate passages that might endanger individuals. Wikileaks asked the US government to go through the leaked documents to make sure that no innocent people were identified, but was rebuffed. No one has shown personal harm due to Manning’s revelations. Even Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates called the effect of WikiLeaks’ releases on U.S. foreign relations “fairly modest,” as every government in the world knows that the American government “leaks like a sieve.”

I remain stunned by how the traditional media has ignored the opening statement of Bradley Manning’s defense counsel, David Coombs. A good lawyer doesn’t say anything during opening statement that can’t be proven. If you go out on a limb and can’t make your case, you lose your credibility. Coombs is a very meticulous attorney. Coombs told Judge Denise Lind that Manning was highly selective in the documents he chose for release. “He had access to literally hundred of millions of documents as an all-source analyst, and these were the documents he released.” Coombs stated that Manning selected information that he believed could not be used against the United States or by a foreign nation. (Transcript, 6/3/13, pp. 78, 87)

There is the “Collateral Murder” video, with its gunsight footage displaying civilian adults and children being attacked by men in an Apache helicopter who laughed as they committed cold-blooded murder. Manning knew that Reuters had lost two journalists in this incident and had made an FOIA request for a copy of the video, and that the United States had lied in its response two years later by indicating that no copy of the video was available. (Transcript, 6/3/13, at pp. 80-81).

There are the Afghan War logs/Iraq War logs, kept by the soldiers after clashes with enemy forces. These clashes were known to the other side and were hardly secret. Coombs said that the logs chosen by Manning never contained the names of intelligence sources, and that the information that he provided was all “stale” as it was more than 72 hours old. (Transcript, 6/3/13, pp. 78-79)

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