Wednesday, July 07, 2010

US soldier linked to Iraq attack video charged

By BARBARA SURK, Associated Press July 6, 2010

BAGHDAD – An American soldier suspected of leaking a military video of an
attack on unarmed men in Iraq was charged with multiple counts of
mishandling and leaking classified data and putting national security at
risk, the U.S. Army said in a statement Tuesday.

Army Spc. Bradley Manning is suspected of leaking a classified video that
shows a group of men walking down the street before being repeatedly shot
by the Apache helicopters. The American gunners can be heard laughing and
referring to the men as "dead bastards."

If convicted on all charges, Manning could be sentenced to a maximum 52
years in prison.

The classified video was taken from the cockpit during a 2007 fire fight
and posted last April on the website It was an unflattering
portrait of the war that raised questions about the military's rules of
engagement and whether more should be done to prevent civilian casualties.

Among those believed to have been killed in the attack were a Reuters
photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver Saeed Chmagh, 40. Two
children were wounded.

Hours after the military announcement, Wikileaks sent out a tweet
complaining that while Manning was charged, the "trigger-happy Apache crew
remain uncharged."

Manning, 22, from Potomac, Md., was detained in Baghdad in early June and
is now being held in Kuwait.

A military version of a grand jury hearing will determine if Manning
should face a trial by court-martial, the Army's statement said.

No date has been set for the hearing that will take place in Baghdad, Army
spokesman Lt. Col. Eric Bloom told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

A criminal investigation is still open, the Army statement said, detailing
charges against Manning including "transferring classified data onto his
personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified
computer system."

Manning was also charged with "communicating, transmitting and delivering
national defense information to an unauthorized source" and with
"disclosing classified information concerning the national defense with
reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United

An internal military investigation concluded that the troops in the
helicopters acted appropriately. According to a last year's summary of the
results of the inquiry, Reuters employees were likely "intermixed among
the insurgents" and difficult to distinguish because of their equipment,
the document states.

Former computer hacker Adrian Lamo of Sacramento, Calif., said he alerted
the military after Manning confided in him online that he had leaked the
video in addition to 260,000 classified diplomatic cables.

Lamo, who first provided his account to, told The AP last month
that he agonized over the decision.

"I turned him in because, for the rest of my life, I'd wonder if something
he leaked would have cost a human life," Lamo said.

In 2004, Lamo had pleaded guilty to breaking into The New York Times'
computer system and still owes $62,800 in federal restitution. He said he
has received no financial benefit from turning in Manning and that the
money he owes was never discussed.

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