Since my fellow contributors have given the PFC Manning Art. 32 hearing short shrift, I’ll add this synopsis as the defense begins its case today.

The government’s case has painstakingly connected PFC Manning to not only the particular files uploaded by the Wiki[shhhh] organization, but has connected him to particular breaches of SIPRNet security protocols and his own access rights.  To do this the government has brought in an array of computer, shall I call them geeks–I think that’s a term of endearment in that community?  The government’s case has thus focused on establishing PFC Manning’s access rights and tracing data found on computers and other media used by PFC Manning to SIPRNet activity by Manning and the files available on Wiki[shhhh].  connecting the dots between Manning and Wiki[shhhh] has included evidence of on-line chats between Manning and Wiki[shhhh] founder Julian Assange, which is likely part of the motivation behind Manning defense counsel David Coombs jumping up and down on Day 1 about the IOs bias because he worked for DOJ (though, as I noted else where, his job is not connected to any investigation of Assange). 

The government focus on connecting the dots has been to the exclusion of, at least in the open hearing sessions, evidence about the damage to national security caused by Manning’s alleged acts or any intent to communicate this data to foreign enemies of the US. That’s not to say that the closed hearing sessions, which apparently have not been numerous (thank you TCs and IO for reading the King case Investigation Report), haven’t addressed these issues.

As for government witnesses, aside from the computer geeks the only star power has been convicted former hacker Adrian Lamo (sp?).  Lamo  testified about the now public chat logs between he and Manning that revealed Mannings transparency motives, but also demonstrated Manning knew the information he allegedly released could aid foreign governments.

The defense for its part has hammered away at the lack of evidence about harm to US national security. It has taken shots at some of the government’s geeks and attempted to break some of the connections by pointing out differences, in some cases, between files found by the government’s geeks and those on Wiki[shhhh].  The defense early on also laid the ground work for what, in my best guess, is a potential diminished capacity-type defense to the specific intent specs. The defense has put at issue Manning’s sexuality and mental health in the pre-DADT end US Army.  If not a defense, the defense counsel are at least laying the groundwork for a potential sentencing case. They’ve also tried to use this evidence to counter-government evidence that Manning, even though a junior soldier, was highly skilled and knew exactly what the potential impact of releasing this type of information would be. 

We’ll see what today brings from the defense. Here are a few of the better reports from the hearing at Ft. Meade by friend o’ the blog Ellen Nakashima and Julie Tate at WaPo, here, here and here.

10 Responses to “Manning Art. 32 Hearing Synopsis”

  1. publius says:

    Any thoughts regarding the government’s approach at this high-profile Art 32?  From reports it seems TC’s are making a very robust presentation, no mere paper 32 designed to do no more than meet the burden and limit defense “discovery”.  Does the high-profile nature of the case demand such an approach? 

  2. soonergrunt says:

    Having now covered the case, get ready for the flood.  I hope you guys do better with the bizarre things that wishful people come up than I have.
    Oh, yeah.  I’m front paging over there.  I’ve specifically avoided ever naming CAAFLOG in any of my posts because I didn’t want to be responsible for directing the horde of nuts to your door.

  3. soonergrunt says:

    The hell of it is that if they’d had a half-way competent network administrator working, they could’ve prevented much if not most of this.

  4. stewie says:

    I think anytime you have media at an Article 32 it requires a more robust presentation, and obviously media and high-profile case kinda go hand in hand.

  5. k fischer says:

    Anybody think an Article 10 motion will be successful in this case?

  6. stewie says:

    Fairly complicated case, so…no. I do wonder why it took so long.

  7. soonergrunt says:

    @ k fischer–that’s what I was wondering.

  8. Lieber says:

    Oh there will be an Article 10 Motion (malpractice not too). It will fail if the TC’s were at all competent (staying cognizant of the Barker factors and keeping a log).   The 706 delay was normal. That’s just how long they take these days. Excludable delay is quite permissive under 703(c) (read the discussion).  D is clearly angling for a plea. 

  9. Dew_Process says:

    Any time that you deal with inter-agency Classification Reviews and re-classification issues, it takes forever and it’s beyond DoD control – especially stuff originating at either the State Dept or C-I-A.  Then there are the Damage Assessments which also take forever and obviously something that the Defense is quite interested in.  So in the context of e.g., a homicide this case has taken a long time, but in the context of the thousands of classified items involved, not an unreasonable time imho.

  10. soonergrunt says:

    Thanks, DP.  That’s about what I figured was the reason.