Various news reports, particularly this AP story and this article on Wired.com, reveal that PFC Manning’s defense team sought judicial approval of proposed guilty pleas by exceptions and substitutions to a total of 7 “charges” (I assume this means specifications) carrying a maximum punishment of 16 years.

Under the plea proposal, Manning would admit to giving WikiLeaks a battlefield video file, which WikiLeaks published under the title “Collateral Murder,” as well as some classified memos, more than 20 Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and other classified materials, according to AP. He would also plead guilty to wrongfully storing classified information.

The military judge, COL Lind, approved the proposed language. Notably, PFC Manning has elected to be tried by military judge alone.

The plea is what we call “a naked plea,” meaning there is no agreement with the Government, and the timing is a little curious considering the continuing litigation of the conditions of pretrial confinement and the requested remedy of dismissal of all charges.

Then there’s this quote from a military justice heavyweight:

The plea offer, if accepted, could shorten the trial if the government wouldn’t have to spend time proving Manning actually leaked the documents, said Washington attorney Michael Navarre, a Navy judge advocate and adviser to the National Institute of Military Justice.

Navarre said a guilty plea could also lead the judge or sentencing jury to view Manning in a favorable light.

“One of the goals of accepting responsibility is to curry favor,” Navarre said.

Reminds me of this:

Valerie: Bye bye, boys!
Max: Have fun storming the castle!
Valerie: Think it will work?
Max: It would take a miracle.
Max and Valerie: B-bye!

10 Responses to “More details on the Manning guilty pleas”

  1. SgtDad says:

    Wow!  Go to the links at the Wired article & read the chats between Manning & Lamo.  No wonder he wants to plead.

    It’s been asked before, but just how is it the Army gave this lad a security clearance?  Clearance or no, how did he get all that access? 

  2. Soonergrunt says:

    So here’s the question that’s been bugging me about this–
    given what we know from publicly available information, would any of you practitioners recommend this to your client?
    I’m not a fan of Manning’s.  I think this whole thing is more about him being pissed off at the Army as an institution and some of his leadership in particular and so he did something to hurt and embarrass them and it got way out of hand more than it ever being about him being a whistle-blower or some hero of truth and justice or whatever some of those idiots are trying to paint him as.  Having said that, I don’t want to see him spend any more time in jail than absolutely necessary, and I don’t think he should be abused.  I’m wondering if he’s not doing this just because he’s too tired after everything else to keep going.

  3. Soonergrunt says:

    @SgtDad–I can’t speak to the clearance, but as an IT technician, I can speak to the access, and the answer to that question, from what I’ve been able to gather from open source is that his SIPRNet Admins were really, really lazy in not creating and enforcing security groups on the network.
    I’ve served as an Active Directory Administrator on both NIPR and SIPR networks for DoD as a contractor, and I’ve done AD Admin work on the VA’s network.  Without getting too deeply into the nuts and bolts, it’s a lot like creating and enforcing access rosters to facilities.  Just like how Soldiers can’t enter the TOC/BDOC or even the Arms room or Supply room without being on the roster or being accompanied by someone who is, creating the security groups and enforcing each group’s access is relatively straight forward.  It’s not hard to do it properly, but it is tedious work.  My understanding is that the Active Directory administration at that particular SCIF was managed by contractors.  If that was in fact the case, I hope that they had their contracts yanked, and their corporate clearance revoked.

  4. SgtDad says:

    SoonerGrunt: thanks for the insight. The extended period of solitary confinement would break anyone.  I’m a Marine & had a brief interval as a brig NCO (40+ yrs ago).  Solitary is a form of torture, in my view.

    That said, Manning betrayed his country, his oath, Liberty, & all that is Holy.  The chat logs, in my view, meet the Constitutional definition of treason.  This is what happens when security clearances are given to 12 year olds.  He’s lucky the gallows is not in contemplation.

    So, shouldn’t Manning’s CO, XO, division OIC, & SgtMaj be court martialed for dereliction of duty?  

  5. Soonergrunt says:

    SgtDad–Manning’s chain of command were all subjected to various administrative sanctions.  His First Sergeant was administratively reduced to Sergeant First Class (E-7) and given a letter of reprimand, for example.

  6. Lieber says:

    Both Russell and Hasan have been in PTC for considerably longer…and in confinement that is much closer to solitary than what Hasan was in.
    As for clearance/access; he worked in the 2.  There was nothing unusual about his access to SIGACTS or State Department cables.  Where they screwed up was in the controls within the SCIF itself in terms of what he could download and remove.

  7. Lieber says:

    er, closer to solitary than what Manning was in.

  8. publius says:

    Naked GP…building in the error?

  9. soonergrunt says:

    @Lieber, 1042:

    Where they screwed up was in the controls within the SCIF itself in terms of what he could download and remove.

    Which is what I was getting at.  The ability to control those things is manifest in security groups within Active Directory, and should have been enforced.  Once the basic work of creating the different security groups is done, that part being the somewhat tedious part, after that, it’s mouse-clicks mainly.
    Restricting the ability to use removable media like CD/DVD or USB devices is straight forward, and restricting access laterally to enforce ‘need to know’ limits isn’t that hard either once the security groups are properly configured.  And one thing that would seem to be a glaring ‘need to know’ issue would be SIGACTS in Afghanistan with respect to Intel Analysts in Iraq, unless those Analysts were specifically tasked to look at Afghanistan SIGACTS which SHOULD HAVE required several affirmative steps that SHOULD HAVE been properly documented along the way.
    Ideally, what would happen would be this:
    SPC Joe Bagadonuts is an Intel Analyst in Iraq with SCI clearance.  Joe goes to his job in the SCIF and does his thing, looking at Iraqi electricity usage patterns or some other such.  He shouldn’t be looking at DoS traffic, or SIGACTS from Afghanistan but if he attempts to, he should get an error saying the ‘folder is empty or that he doesn’t have appropriate permissions to view the content and to contact his network administrator’ because the security groups to which is network account belongs don’t have access to these network resources because he doesn’t need them to do his job.  Joe completes his report and goes back to his hooch.  The next day, he goes to the SCIF and his supervisor tells him to look at Afghanistan SIGACTS to see if there’s anything going on there that might start happening here soon.  He logs into his computer and clicks on the appropriate folder and gets the previous error message.  His supervisor has to put in a request for expanded access, and before this access is granted, it needs to state specifically what is to be accessed, how long, when that access starts, what supervisor or manager with the authority to grant the access agrees to allow it, and what network admin manager agrees.  All this should be documented and signed (digitally if need be).  AFTER all of that, and preferably only AFTER a work order to revoke the access on time is created, then the work order to grant access is assigned and executed.  This amount of work is atypical for IT staff, but SCIF/SIPRNet are not typical networks.  Many civilian firms have this level of access management as well.
    That’s how it was done in my last job anyway, and it wasn’t that hard to do it right.  And just because his higher and the SCIF management and the IT staff failed to do their jobs I don’t believe for one moment that should exonerate Manning or reduce his liability or culpability or whatever the proper word is.  If a person shoplifts in a store that has inadequate security, they are still guilty of a crime.

  10. Lieber says:

    Ah, that makes a lot of sense.  There’s a reason for why folks in Iraq (indirectly) had access to Afghanistan data but I’m not comfortable with explaining it here.