Bradley Manning’s New Charges: “Bringing Discredit upon the Armed Forces”

Aside from learning that we–the recipients of a bunch of information Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked–are the enemy, what did we learn from the new charges the government filed against Bradley Manning yesterday? Most of the charges say the information Manning allegedly leaked were of a nature that they would bring discredit upon the armed forces. Heh.

Here’s a summary of the charges, with my comments (note, these are all allegations–I won’t repeat that remind with each charge, but please keep it in mind):

Charge I; Article 104: Between November 1, 2009 and May 27, 2010, giving intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means.

Note, here’s how that article defines “enemy:”

“Enemy” includes (not only) organized opposing forces in time of war, (but also any other hostile body that our forces may be opposing) (such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades) (and includes civilians as well as members of military organizations). (“Enemy” is not restricted to the enemy government or its armed forces. All the citizens of one belligerent are enemies of the government and the citizens of the other.)

As I’ll discuss in a follow-up, I think they may be refusing to say who they consider the enemy in one more effort to tie Manning to Julian Assange. But since they don’t specify who the enemy is, we can just assume it is us.

Charge II, Article 134, Specification 1: “Wrongfully and wantonly” causing intelligence to be published in the internet.

This one, it seems to me, might be broad enough to trouble the newspapers that have published the cables.

Charge II, Specification 2: Between February 15 and April 5, 2010, transmitting the Collateral Murder video to someone not entitled to receive it.

The date on this is interesting: WikiLeaks was already boasting of having a video on January 8, and they announced decrypting it (which was a ruse–it was not encrypted) on February 20, which correlates with the timing Manning described in the chat logs. I wonder if the government hasn’t been able to pinpoint when this was transmitted?

Charge II, Specification 3: Between March 22 and 26, 2010, transmitting more than one classified memo to someone not entitled to receive it.

On March 23, the WL twitter feed announced, “We know our possession of the decrypted airstrike video is now being discussed at the highest levels of US command.” This was the time period when it appears Manning, according to the chat logs, was tracking the surveillance of Assange. I suspect this reference pertains to this information.

Charge II, Specification 4: Between December 31, 2009 and January 5, 2010, getting the “Combined Information Data Network Exchange Iraq database” of more than 380,000 records.

This suggests the government believed Manning had this by the first few days of 2010.

Charge II, Specification 5: Between December 31, 2009 and February 9, 2010, transmitting more than 20 Iraq database cables to someone not authorized to receive them.

Charge II, Specification 6: Between December 31, 2009 and January 8, 2010, getting the “Combined Information Data Network Exchange Afghanistan database” of more than 90,000.

This suggests the government believes Manning got both the Afghan and Iraq database around the same time. Note, too, that Manning traveled to the US after this point.

Charge II, Specification 7: Between December 31, 2009 and February 9, 2010, transmitting more than 20 Afghan cables to someone not authorized to receive them.

Note the last date for transmission for both the Iraq and Afghan cables is the same–February 9.

Charge II, Specification 8: On March 8, 2010, take more than 700 records from a SOUTHCOM database.

This must be the Gitmo information that we have not yet seen. Interesting that they have an exact date for it.

Charge II, Specification 9: Between March 8 and May 27 transmit more than 3 of the SOUTHCOM (presumably, Gitmo) records to someone not authorized to receive them.

I find this one really interesting. They don’t charge any other documents we haven’t yet seen. So why do they believe Manning transmitted them with such specificity? Unless he leaked them to someone else–like Adrian Lamo.

Charge II, Specification 10: Between April 11 and May 27, 2010, transmitting more than 5 records relating to the US killing of up to 140 civilians in Garani, Afghanistan, on May 4, 2009.

Again, these are documents we have not yet seen. But they’re related to the Garani airstrike video which we have also not yet seen.

Charge II, Specification 11: Between November 1, 2009 and January 8, 2010, transmitting a file containing the video BE22 PAX.wmv to someone not authorized to receive it.

Given that this follows the reference to Garani-related documents and given that we’ve already seen reference to the Collateral Murder video, this must be the Garani video.

Charge II, Specification 12: Between March 28 and May 4, 2010, taking the Department of State Net-Centric Diplomacy database consisting of the 250,000 State cables.

Charge II, Specification 13: Between March 28 and May 27, 2010, transmitting mroe than 75 state department cables to someone not entitled to receive it.

In the first charge sheet, they charge Manning with transmitting 50 cables; this seems to be the same charge. Given that they charged that even before WL started leaking the State cables (that is, at that point they had no evidence WL had gotten the cables), I’ve always suspected this leak was to someone else, possibly Lamo.

Charge II, Specification 14: Between February 15 and February 18, 2010 transmitting the Rejkjavik-13 cable.

This is interesting because it was after Manning had returned to Iraq.

Charge II, Specification 15: Between February 15 and March 15, 2010, transmitting the US Army intelligence report on WikiLeaks.

Charge II, Specification 16: Between May 11 and May 27, 2010, taking the US Forces–Iraq Microsoft Outlook/SharePoint Exchange Server global address list.

Are they basically charging Manning with downloading a phone book?!

Charge III, Article 92, Specification 1: Between November 1 and March 8, 2010, attempting to bypass network security.

Note the end date on this is the same date as Manning is alleged to have taken the SOUTHCOM (probably Gitmo) documents.

Charge III, Specification 2: Between February 11 and April 3, 2010, adding unauthorized software to SIPRNet.

I’ve written about the earlier version of this charge here.

Charge III, Specification 3: On May 4, 2010, adding unauthorized software to SIPRNet.

Note, in the first charging sheet, there was just one version of this charge. May 4 would have been around the time Manning was disciplined.

Charge III, Specification 4: Between May 11 and May 27, 2010, using an information system in a manner other than its intended purpose.

I’m really fascinated by this one. This would presumably have been the period when Manning had lost access to the intelligence networks. I wonder whether they’re dinging Manning for his chats with Lamo (though the ones we know about don’t start until several weeks later).

Charge III, Specification 5: Between November 1, 2009 and May 27, 2010, wrongfully storing classified information.

This is where they get into the true petty charges!

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. cbl says:

    good morning Empty and community

    I normally just read along in these threads- but on my way to the coffee pot caught DoD Spox Geoff Morrell – clearly responding to questions of inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning on Chuck Todd’s show –

    ‘treatment reflects severity of the crimes he’s charged with’ –

    proving Arendt right yet again

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, he said that he was in Max bc of length of particular sentence. First of all, that may well not be right. More importantly, the potential sentence didn’t get that long until yesterday.

      So I’m left wondering whether they charged him with aiding the enemy bc they wanted a nice long sentence to retroactively justify the treatment they’ve subjected him to.

      • tjbs says:

        They are going to “plea bargain” with him starting with his life something like this. Yea, we know it feels like you’ve died to the life you knew in here but we’re going to paint you worse than Timmy McVeigh and strap you down on that cross, so what do you have to counter offer?

          • kgb999 says:

            Isn’t the “aiding the enemy” charge a capital offense? My understanding (from reading elsewhere) is that while the prosecutor has said they aren’t going to request the death penalty – upon conviction, that’s 100% on the judge.

            I would argue if there is a possibility conviction would end in execution (which appears to be the case at the moment), he is being “charged with the death penalty”.

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    Charge II, Specification 16: Between May 11 and May 27, 2010, taking the US Forces–Iraq Microsoft Outlook/SharePoint Exchange Server global address list.

    Are they basically charging Manning with downloading a phone book?!

    Well, it is a little more serious than that. The Exchange Global Address List (the GAL to those of us who deal with this stuff) contains all the email addresses (not just of individuals, but distribution lists, etc.) of everyone in your organization. But it is normally much more than that. By default it will hold job titles, departmental assignments, phone numbers, and reporting structures. Plus, it is extensible and can include just about any data you want that you can tie to an individual.

    Typically, you can start at the top-level of an organization and using the GAL, enumerate through every person in the organization. For example, at my current employer and using Outlook, I can start at the CEO, click on a tab that says “Direct Reports” and it lists everyone who reports to him. I click on a name and I can drill down from there. Using SharePoint, I can search through the entire list looking for anyone by name or other identifier.

    I willing to bet that someone just about crapped their pants when they discovered he had snagged this. It would be an insurgent’s dream. Not to mention what a vendor would pay for it.

    • PeasantParty says:

      Ha! I’m wondering if Cheney and Kissinger’s names are at the top now. Gates hasn’t really been interested in following Obama and his plans from the beginning of Obama’s term. As we see here at FDL, the reports coming in don’t reflect at all the information coming out of the WH.

  3. joanneleon says:

    “Bringing Discredit upon the Armed Forces”
    I wonder if the powers that be have any idea how ironic that charge is.

    Was it Bradley Manning who was responsible for that massacre where innocent journalists, men and little kids were shot in cold blood from a helicopter gunship?

    Was Bradley Manning the one who gave the permission to fire on them?

    Was Bradly Manning the one who, after realizing they shot kids in a van, said that they shouldn’t have brought kids to a battle? (When the father had been driving in the neighborhood that was not a battle before they decided to kill people standing on the street.)

  4. WilliamOckham says:

    Regarding Charge II, Spec. 2, did we know the name of the file before?

    “12 JUL 07 CZ ENGAGEMENT ZONE 30 GC Anyone.avi”

  5. PeasantParty says:

    Where’s Lamo?

    Isn’t he part of this as he also got the goods? If everyone in the world that has viewed and read the leaks is now an enemy, then Lamo should be right up there with Manning at the top!

  6. kabuki101 says:

    John Kerry? John Kerry?, Yes, paging you, Lurch.

    Someone here had won a “solemn commitment” from Lurch to go and investigate Bradley Manning’s treatment. This was at some kind of townhall where Kerry was acting shocked and ignorant of the torture that the US government is carrying out. Anyhow, now Bradley is also facing the death penalty, and presumably still being tortured, I think we can see Kerry’s final response.

    His response is a big middle finger pointing straight up in the air and the words, “fuck you all you suckers, I work for the plutocracy”.

    You’ve descended into the kind of “judicial” barbarism we used to associate with unstable régimes out of equatorial Africa in the 1970’s.

      • onitgoes says:

        Don’t hold your breath for Kerry to say one d*mn thing. Agree that Kerry just works for the Oligarchs and doesn’t give a sh*t about a serf like Manning. More’s the pity. I would say: for shame! but as we well know, narcissistic sociopaths (which includes the vast majority of the upper 2%) feel no shame.

        Thanks, EW, for the update. Shameful.

      • kabuki101 says:

        Yes, what does he have to say about this? He should make a statement.

        or go the whole hog and send a “sternly worded letter” even!! ;-)

  7. donbacon says:

    enemies of the government

    That would be us, on occasion

    causing intelligence to be published in the internet.

    Manning didn’t cause publication, did he?

    transmitting the Collateral Murder video to someone not entitled to receive it.

    Manning was reporting a “crime against humanity.”
    from Nuremberg Principles:

    Crimes against humanity:
    Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

    transmitting more than one classified memo to someone not entitled to receive it.

    This is a minor transgression, particularly as it can be shown that many of the documents have been widely acknowledged to have been over-classified or needlessly classified.
    Example of a Secret/NoForeign:

    (S/NF) Mubarak is 81 years old and in reasonably good health; his most notable problem is a hearing deficit in his left ear. He responds well to respect for Egypt and for his position, but is not swayed by personal flattery. Mubarak peppers his observations with anecdotes that demonstrate both his long experience and his sense of humor. . .

    When the definition of the security classification Secret/NoForeign is:

    Information becomes classified “secret” when someone with authority in the executive branch determines that its revelation would cause “grave damage” to national security. No Foreign means that only Americans can know this.

  8. Knut says:

    The charges are appalling. I am especially disturbed by the assertion that all the citizens of a belligerent are the enemy. I suppose that would justify annihilating them. Oh wait! We did that at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nothing to see here, just move along.

    • tjallen says:

      All the citizens of one belligerent are enemies of the government and the citizens of the other.

      Pacifists in opposing belligerents are enemies of one another?

      In democracies, no minority of either belligerant might oppose a war?

      No neutrals, even?

      Even the uninformed, the insane, and infants and children, are enemies, and all without knowing it.

      So being an enemy, and having enemies, is involuntary. No individual, informed consent is required at all.

      One wouldn’t think this could stand conceptually, but who am I to say these days.

  9. WilliamOckham says:

    I have a completely speculative theory about the Manning-Lamo chats. It’s pretty clear that the feds haven’t been able to figure out how Manning passed all the info to WikiLeaks, but they do seem to have been able to reconstruct a lot of Manning’s activities while he was using his computer in Iraq.

    In one of Lamo’s versions of the events leading up to the chats, Manning had tried to contact Lamo much earlier, but Lamo hadn’t responded. I think the military started investigating Manning, snooped into his email, and saw that he had reached out to Lamo at some point. The military then had Lamo contact Manning in an effort to draw out a confession from Manning about contacting WikiLeaks. I’m not a lawyer, but my advice to Manning’s team would be to do anything they could to get those chat logs excluded from evidence.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I’ve got several versions of the same theory. What’s clear is taht Lamo was setting Manning up from the very first. Either he did so in his vigilante role, or the govt put him up to it while he was committed.

    • PeasantParty says:

      Agree. However, I still haven’t gotten the connection between the two. Have no idea why Manning would have reached out or tried to contact an imprisoned Lamo. Does not make sense!

  10. MadDog says:

    When you view the charges as EW has listed and summarized them, it becomes readily apparent that Charge I is the only one that stands out as “serious” in the scheme of things.

    By that, I mean the rest of the charges are of such little importance, one could imagine a teenager for example, getting punished by their parents with loss of driving privileges for a week.

    When the sum of these charges are viewed at all, it looks as if that the US Government had to stretch itself all out of proportion to come up with something, anything, to justify their out-of-control hyperbole that Manning is the worst traitor since Benedict Arnold.

    And because of this, without a Charge I, the US Government cannot justify their actions and tactics, and intent of harming Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

    It’s not even close.

  11. Billy Glad says:

    “Charge II, Article 134, Specification 1: “Wrongfully and wantonly” causing intelligence to be published in the internet.

    This one, it seems to me, might be broad enough to trouble the newspapers that have published the cables.”

    Except the newspapers aren’t subject to the UCMJ. Yet.

  12. spanishinquisition says:

    With Lamo being part of Project Vigilant wouldn’t that mean he was authorized to receive whatever Manning sent him? Lamo by the way has denied receiving any docs:

    Adrian Lamo said Monday that Manning did not provide him with classified documents.

    Lamo says Uber’s statements were the result of a misunderstanding. Lamo informed Uber in May that Manning, in his instant messenger chats with Lamo, had discussed things he’d seen on classified networks.

    “He described things that he had seen, but he did not actually send material firsthand,” says Lamo. “He characterized documents … However, it would be inaccurate to say that he sent me any documents.”

    If Manning had sent Lamo classified documents, it would have been strong evidence that he was the leaker he claimed to be.

    Asked why he didn’t set the record straight on Sunday, Lamo said “I wanted to take the time to make sure that explaining would not impede” the government’s investigation of Manning.

  13. lthuedk says:

    Throw the kitchen at Manning and hope the sink sticks.

    If I saw evidence of crime and reported it, then I should be punished? Is that what the military is telling me? The helicopter gunship’s entire crew committed crimes that should have been reported. They were, finally. And since Manning was smart enough to know the brass would conceal the crime, did the only thing he was bound, by code, to do.

    I’d turn them in as well. I don’t think all the military prisons in the U.S. could house those that would-just because it is clearly stated in the military code of conduct.

    • ottogrendel says:

      “If I saw evidence of crime and reported it, then I should be punished?”

      If the main goal is to maintain the facade of power and competence, then whistle blowers must be punished. Unfortunately. From the military’s institutional perspective, Manning’s crime is one of the highest that can be committed. “Don’t let them see us. Don’t tell them what we are doing.”

      The good news is that institutions who refuse honest assessment of themselves, do not change and apply pragmatic fixes to what is broken, and prefer a status quo appearance over other concerns typically aren’t around for very long.

      • Billy Glad says:

        But how do we explain the way the torture at Abu Ghraib was revealed, or the way videos go up on YouTube every day that are much more damning than the famous “collateral damage” video without any of the people who leak the information being prosecuted?

  14. ottogrendel says:

    Compared to the discredit US armed forces have heaped upon themselves recently in the Middle East (about 1.5 million dead in the last 20 years), I suspect they don’t need much help along these lines from Manning.

  15. hotdog says:

    Discredit upon the Armed Forces. That’s a great charge. When do we arrest the Commander in Chief?

  16. spanishinquisition says:

    Didn’t McChrystal bring discredit to the armed forces? I’m trying to understand why Manning is facing prison as well as loss of pay and rank while Obama was a fierce advocate for McChrystal gettting $12K per month four star general retirement pay even though McChrystal didn’t have the minimum time in.

  17. hotdog says:

    Bringing discredit does not equal revealing a lack of credibility.

    Is the real problem here an inability of the military to interpret the English language? That would explain a lot. Maybe there is a different dictionary for them where duty equals obeying orders, honor equals refusing to see abominable hypocrisy, and country is your superior officer’s ass.

  18. RoyalOak says:

    The Manning situation truly sickens me. Thank you, EW, for your consistently excellent reporting on this poor kid. I don’t post on the threads for him because they anger me so but I read every one.

  19. donbacon says:

    from Article 104

    That (state the name or description of the enemy alleged to have received the intelligence information) was an enemy; and

    I’m not really up on this. Exactly whom did Manning give the information to? I don’t think it was al-Qaeda, for one.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This charge sheet will ensure that the trial is lengthy and notorious, a public (if private) event primarily pour encourager les autres.

    In a Linda Martin-Don Siegelish way, it demonstrates not prosecutorial zeal, but a Cheneyite fear of exposure. The harm it seeks to deter is harm to political futures, not to the country. For a political admirer of Dick Cheney, as opposed to a Robert Jackson or someone aspiring to become a statesman, the only conceivable response to that fear is to slam what he has on the table and claim it’s the longest in the bar.

    The litany of possible things this young man could have done reads like a medicine man’s elixir label, making promises to the gullible about all the ailments his magic is proof against. It’s a McCarthyite list of evils that every imaginary commie pinko could ever have committed.

    It is a PsyOps on Mr. Manning, potential whistleblowers, the American and world public. Partisans or the informed might doubt a slight blond young man accused of one or a few crimes. Fox viewers might doubt a caricature of someone accused of several. Surely, Shirley, the world must cast aside an evildoer figuratively accused of more crimes than Hitler. Even a veteran hardened by war, the ambitions of classmates, the pitiless pressure of Pentagon politics would be hard-pressed not to find this young man guilty of at least one crime, in order mentally to justify the exercise and to look like a team player.

    Lastly, it suggests the prosecutors haven’t a case. If they were convinced they had Mr. Manning dead to rights, and the admissible evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, they’d have kept their case simple, short and harsh, so as not to confuse and to ensure conviction. They have instead attempted a barrage, hoping that it will hurt someone, somewhere, and keep the wary from again approaching this landscape. It is its own crime and an attempt to hide others.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The list of charges that reads like Roy Cohen’s gift list could well be an attempt to get a weakened Mr. Manning, disoriented from what will have been a year of isolation and inhumane treatment, to accept that there is no way out, and to accept David Hicks’ fate, give up and cop a plea. It’s worked before. But it’s more evidence that these prosecutors are unsure of their case.

      Imagine the blowback from Republicans and the Pentagon if, before the election and after all this criminal hoopla, Mr. Obama failed to get a conviction against his most celebrated prisoner. None of that, of course, has the slightest bearing on Mr. Manning’s guilt or innocence.

      • ottogrendel says:

        Thanks for your analysis.

        Manning is exactly between a rock and a hard place: Folks on the right want to nail him to the wall; by leveling this barrage of charges against him, it makes those to the left of the punishment freaks wary of siding with him despite their possible sympathies. Plus, Manning has got no real money or power. If he had a decisive amount of public opinion on his side, that might be enough to get him through this. I doubt he has that. A public official with enough political clout could take up his case, but in the current fear-addled, Fascist climate in the US, I doubt we will see someone step forward and risk their career. I made my paltry, and most likely impotent, financial and political contribution, but I’m afraid Manning will end up like Lindh.

  21. stryx says:

    transmitting more than 5 records relating to the US killing of up to 140 civilians in Garani, Afghanistan

    Yeah, Manning brought discredit upon the Armed Forces.

  22. Disgusteddan says:

    This charge is going to be hard to escape. By exposing the lies and deceit of our Government and Military, Manning most certainly did “Bring(ing) Discredit upon the Armed Forces”.

    Hypocrites hate to be exposed.

  23. donbacon says:

    Again, the charge (apparently) is that Manning gave the information to an enemy. If the person(s) he gave the information to was not an enemy than he’s not guilty of the charge.

    If there is no Major Andre there can be no Benedict Arnold.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That’s the high school civics version of the law. These charges are as much about political theater as they are about the facts, the law or credible threats to national security.

      Their being brought and in this manner, after ten months and counting of keeping Manning in falsely justified harsh circumstances, achieves some of the desired ends. The purpose is achieved almost regardless of whether Manning is convicted of any of them; just as does keeping prisoners in detention in Gitmo whom the government has already acknowledge are innocent of any crime; or arresting reporters, detaining them for months or years, and interrogating them about al Jazeera rather than the Taliban, when it knows it has no legal right to do so.

      Lost in the shuffle, the government hopes, is why Manning did whatever he did. What WikiLeaks has revealed through its cooperating publishers is what concerns them, because its standard operating procedure and they intend to keep on doing it. That some of what Manning did, as opposed to the government, may have violated the law seems to be the least of its worries here.

  24. kurish says:

    they announced decrypting it [“Collateral Murder”] (which was a ruse–it was not encrypted)

    Can you please source re: absence of encryption? I’m aware of speculation on the topic (eg this entry and discussion from April 7, 2010 on Bruce Scheier’s blog), but have not seen a definitive refutation of Wikileaks’ claims. FWIW, Assange stated on ~April 6, 2010:

    a team of cryptologists spent three months working on the clip. It had to do with trying a few million of the most likely passwords in order to find the right one.

    As recently as May 16, 2010, he again claimed the encryption was broken “by us.”

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Is it too obvious to say that some of what the US Army does, which Mr. Manning may have revealed, is what discredits it, rather than its revealing?

    These are the sorts of charges the army would have liked to have brought against “hippy” magazines that spill the beans about what its generals really think and do. It prefers the Tim Russert motto, everything’s off the record until the army or a politician says otherwise.

  26. tegrat says:

    so by that definition of “enemy” practically every Tea Partier should also be thrown in the brig, no?

  27. waynec says:

    donbacon @ 46 said,

    “Again, the charge (apparently) is that Manning gave the information to an enemy. If the person(s) he gave the information to was not an enemy than he’s not guilty of the charge.”

    Do you think, therefore, that the military knows who he gave the info to, and can prove it? It does seem that that charge is the most important one.

    or are they just fishing?

    Any news about anyone visiting PFc Manning lately?

  28. PJEvans says:

    Yup. Manning is a whistleblower: the current administration is treating him as one (punish the whistleblowers harshly, because they threaten the MOTUs).