Conflict & Justice

WikiLeaks: Manning judge orders disclosure of US damange reports


Private First Class Bradley Manning is escorted following a motions hearing in his trial at Fort Meade on March 15 in Maryland.



US government damage assessments from the WikiLeaks imbroglio are to be delivered to a military judge ahead of the trial of the accused leaker Bradley Manning, according to The Associated Press.

The news agency said Colonel Denise Lind ordered the disclosures to be made to her directly so that she can determine if they should be made available to the defense for Manning, who stands accused of the greatest official secrets leak in US history.

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WikiLeaks in 2010 published classified video of a mistaken and deadly helicopter gunship attack on civilians in Baghdad, secret military records from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and progressively unveiled nearly a quarter of a million US diplomatic cables.

Manning, 24, is accused of leaking all of this to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, who is himself currently under house arrest in a separate case.

Colonel Lind ordered that the files be provided to her by May 18, according to the AP, which said defense lawyers had claimed in heated arguments that prosecutors were withholding potentially exculpatory evidence.

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According to the Agence France-Presse news agency, the damage reports come from the CIA, FBI, the State Department and the military’s Defense Intelligence Agency.

The news agency said Col. Lind said the State Department would be allowed to present arguments against disclosing its own report.

AFP said the reports could cast doubt on prosecutors’ claims that the WikiLeaks disclosures caused damage to US interests or endangered lives.