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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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