U.S. Army in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst tar­geted in Wik­iLeaks in­quiry

Man charged in past in­ci­dent thought to have had ac­cess to doc­u­ments

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By David S. Cloud

WASHINGTON — A crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the leak­ing of thou­sands of se­cret re­ports about the Afghanistan war is fo­cused on an Army in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst al­ready charged with dis­clos­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion, ac­cord­ing to two De­fense Depart­ment of­fi­cials.

Bradley E. Man­ning, a 22-yearold Army pri­vate first class who was charged in May with il­le­gally down­load­ing clas­si­fied ma­te­rial, is thought to have had ac­cess to the leaked re­ports on Afghanistan that were posted on the Wik­iLeaks web­site Sun­day, one of the of­fi­cials said.

An on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Man­ning by the Army’s Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Com­mand has been ex­panded to ex­am­ine whether he was the source of the re­ports, the of­fi­cials

said. They spoke anony­mously be­cause they were dis­cussing de­tails of a con­tin­u­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Geoff Mor­rell, the Pen­tagon’s press sec­re­tary, de­scribed Man­ning as a “per­son of in­ter­est” in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the most re­cent Wik­iLeaks dis­clo­sures.

An­other Pen­tagon spokesman, Col. Dave Lapan, told re­porters that it re­mains un­clear whether the re­cent leaks came from Man­ning. The Army will have the power to in­ves­ti­gate mem­bers of other mil­i­tary branches, he said.

As an in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst with high se­cu­rity clear­ances, Man­ning was not re­stricted to look­ing only at clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion about Iraq, even though his unit, a bri­gade of the 10th Moun­tain Di­vi­sion, was de­ployed there.

The de­sign of the mil­i­tary’s clas­si­fied com­puter sys­tem al­lows an­a­lysts to ex­am­ine a wide range of se­cret in­for­ma­tion stored on servers main­tained by the U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand, which over­sees U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The more than 76,000 re­ports, many of them brief and rou­tine, pro­vide new de­tails about Pak­istani in­tel­li­gence agen­cies’ as­sis­tance to Afghan in­sur­gents, cor­rup­tion in the U.S.-backed Kabul govern­ment and nu­mer­ous in­ci­dents of U.S. troops ac­ci­den­tally killing civil­ians. Wik­iLeaks says it has an­other 15,000 clas­si­fied doc­u­ments it is still vet­ting.

Among other ques­tions, the Army in­ves­ti­ga­tion is ex­am­in­ing how such a large vol­ume of in­for­ma­tion was trans­ferred out of the clas­si­fied net­work. One of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the in­quiry said it was pos­si­ble to down­load clas­si­fied files onto a CD.

Most of the ma­te­rial cov­ers events dur­ing the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion and be­fore De­cem­ber 2009, when Pres­i­dent Barack Obama or­dered more than 30,000 ad­di­tional troops to Afghanistan and in­sti­tuted a strat­egy aimed at turn­ing around the war.

At the White House, Obama warned about the dangers of leak­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion but said the pub­lic would learn lit­tle new from the re­ports.

“While I’m concerned about the dis­clo­sure of sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion from the bat­tle­field that could po­ten­tially jeop­ar­dize in­di­vid­u­als or op­er­a­tions, the fact is, these doc­u­ments don’t re­veal any is­sues that haven’t al­ready in­formed our pub­lic de­bate on Afghanistan,” he said. “In­deed, they point to the same chal­lenges that led me to con­duct an ex­ten­sive re­view of our pol­icy last fall.”

Man­ning re­mains in cus­tody at Camp Arifjan, a U.S. mil­i­tary base in Kuwait, await­ing a de­ci­sion on whether there is suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence against him to jus­tify a court-mar­tial. His lawyer, Capt. Paul Bouchard, didn’t re­spond to e-mails seek­ing com­ment.

The charges against Man­ning ac­cuse him of il­le­gally trans­fer­ring to his per­sonal com­puter video footage of a deadly U.S. heli­copter at­tack in Baghdad in 2007 and more than 150,000 State Depart­ment mes­sages.

There is no men­tion of Wik­iLeaks in the charg­ing doc­u­ments, though the video of the Baghdad at­tack was posted ear­lier this year on the web­site.

The dis­clo­sure of the mil­i­tary’s un­fil­tered files fo­cused new at­ten­tion on the progress of the war and pro­vided fod­der for crit­ics of the U.S. ef­fort.

Richard Hol­brooke, the U.S. spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Afghanistan and Pak­istan, will tes­tify to­day be­fore a House panel and could face sharp ques­tions from its leader, Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., who said in June that she would cut aid for Afghanistan be­cause of re­ports of cor­rup­tion.

Maya Alleruzzo

Adm. Mike Mullen, the top U.S. mil­i­tary of­fi­cer, said Tues­day that the leak of mil­i­tary doc­u­ments about Afghanistan could put Amer­i­can lives at risk.

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