First Day of Bradley Manning's Trial: Linking Him to Bin Laden

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning Army Pfc. Bradley Manning Patrick Semansky/AP File Photo

On the first day of the trial of Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of aiding enemies of the United States by transmitting classified documents to Wikileaks, attorneys did their best to shape perceptions. The judge hearing the case was offered two views of the defendant. One was of a mixed-up kid trying to make the world a better place. The other was a portrait of a man hoping to undermine the United States' war in Iraq by sharing information with al Qaeda — and, indirectly, with Osama bin Laden himself.

The key word on that last point is "indirectly." It's been known for a while that the government's attempt to prove that Manning's leaks were damaging — an important component of the its case — would include an effort to draw a line between Manning and bin Laden. In February, we outlined how that would work. In short: bin Laden, during his Internet-free Abbottabad tenure, asked for and received documents from the Manning Wikileaks dump on digital media. When the Navy raided bin Laden's compound, they found that media, which eventually made its way back to the FBI's headquarters in Quantico. Demonstrating the full chain of evidence back to bin Laden isn't easy, prompting the government to suggest it would call one of the Navy SEALs to testify about finding the unidentified device.

It's worth noting that the government leaked its desire to call the SEAL prior to Manning acquiescing to forego the right to a jury trial. In other words, the government wanted to call the SEAL — an obviously high-wattage witness — back when it thought that the case would be heard by military jurors, not a single judge. Whether or not they still plan to use him isn't known; the 140-odd witnesses the government plans to call will be unveiled in sets of 25.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.