Transcript | US v Pfc. Manning, Article 32 Pretrial, 12/22/11 (by an anonymous journalist, ed. by Alexa O’Brien)


United States v. Pfc. Manning was conducted in de facto secrecy. The public was not granted contemporaneous access to court filings or rulings during her trial. In addition to reporting on her trial, I transcribed the proceedings, reconstructed the censored appellate list, and un-redacted any publicly available documentation, in order to foster public comprehension of her unprecedented trial.

As a result of a lawsuit against the military judge and the Military District of Washington brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, as well as my own FOIA requests and research, an official court record for US v. Pfc. Manning was released seven months after her trial. That record is not complete.

The official trial docket is published HERE and the entire collection of documents is text searchable at

*During the pretrial proceedings, court-martial and sentencing of Pfc. Manning, Chelsea requested to be identified as Bradley and addressed using the male pronoun. In a letter embargoed for August 22, 2013 Chelsea proclaimed that she is female and wished to be addressed from that moment forward as Chelsea E. Manning.

This transcript of the December 22, 2011, Article 32 Pretrial hearing in U.S. v Pfc. Manning was obtained from a respected journalist in attendance that day at Fort Meade.

The journalist wished to remain anonymous, but wanted the transcript to be made public. The journalist requested that I clean up the transcript and fact check. Any errors are, therefore, my own.

  • The Investigation Officer is Paul Almanza, an Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel and Justice Department prosecutor.
  • Prosecution is Captain Ashden Fein, Captain Joe Morrow, and Captain Angel Overgaard.
  • Defense is Mr. David Coombs, Major Matthew Kemkes, and Captain Paul Bouchard.



Defense (Coombs): Officer Almanza, you are in a unique position here to give the U.S. Government a reality check. Your recommendation will carry considerable weight with the Government.

The Government has overcharged to strong-arm a plea from my client. Look at the charge case. The U.S. Government has brought 22 charges against Manning. Five specifications of eight 18 U.S.C. 793, two of 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(1). Each carries a ten-year maximum. That means 150 years with maximum punishment.

But the Government wasn’t satisfied with that. They also charged Manning with “aiding the enemy,” which carries the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

I recommend dismissing “aiding the enemy.” I recommend dismissing the Article 92 offenses, the strong form enforcement of information assurance. We have seen that this S2 was lawless. It did not enforce rules. It is the unit’s lack of response to that, which also smacks in the face of justice.

I ask that you combine 18 USC into one specification [missed]; one specification of 18 U.S.C 793; and one specification of 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(1). If you did that, the maximum sentence would be 30 years.

30 years ago, the U.S. was assisting Saddam Hussein with Iran. Ronald Reagan was president. My client was not even born. In support of this punishment, you need to understand why it occurred and what was the result Gender Identity Disorder. Not a disorder; it is a reality. One my client was struggling with. In a letter to Master Sergeant Adkins, Pfc. Manning wrote:

[The transcriber abbreviated the following in their notes:]

“This is my problem. I’ve had signs of it for a very long time. I’ve been trying very, very hard to get rid of it. I thought military would get rid of it. But it is not going away. It is haunting me more and more as I get older. Now the consequences are getting harder. I am not sure what to do with it. It is destroying my ties with family. It is preventing me from developing as a person. It is the cause of my pain and confusion. It makes the most basic things in my life very difficult. The only solution is getting rid of me. The fear of getting caught has made me cover up. It is difficult to sleep and impossible to have conversations. It makes my entire life feel like a bad dream that won’t end. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what will happen to me. But at this point I feel like I am not here anymore. Everyone is concerned about me, and everyone is afraid of me. I am sorry.”

– Pfc. Bradley Manning

From a journal found in Pfc. Manning’s lodgings: “I may have gender identity issues.” Found on his computer: Google searches for “transgender,” etc. [Coombs mentions an article about transgendered members of the military.] “Transsexuals in the Military: Flight into Hyper-Masculinity” by Captain George R. Brown, M.D., U.S.A.F.

As a psychologist, Captain Brown has studied patients in hyper-masculine environments. Striking similarity: they joined the service to “become a real man.” Another quote: “In uniform, I was above reproach.”

During his deployment, Manning created a virtual identity, Brianna Manning. If only life was so simple, and you could push a few buttons and solve your problems. It was not.

Manning struggled in isolation, but not in silence. Non-commissioned officers are the backbone of the military The one thing that makes the U.S. Army different is that we have non-commissioned officers who enforce the rules and step in and correct, regardless of rank. We have had a breakdown from Major Clausen, S2, all the way down to the most junior officer.

The most responsible is Master Sergeant Adkins, yet he refused to testify. Adkins wrote three memoranda.

Memorandum One: “Pfc. Manning’s instability heightened in 2009.” Psychiatric care one to two times a week might have helped Manning. Yet Master Sergeant Adkins did nothing.

Memorandum Two: “Pfc. Manning exhibits bizarre behavior…event’s reemerged…” Adkins wrote that memo, and yet did nothing.

Memorandum Three: “Manning was sitting upright, knees clutched as though in pain.” Adkins noticed an open Gerber knife. “Manning had etched on his seat ‘I want’ with the blade. He felt that he was not there; was not a person. He said he was a turtle with a core personality and several layers of hard shell to protect his personality. He seemed able to recover.” Adkins wrote that memo, and yet did nothing. That night, Manning struck [Specialist Jihrleah] Showman.

Adkins wrote three memos, gave unsworn statements, but took no action. It would be useful to hear from these individuals [Master Sergeant Adkins, Major Clausen]. They did nothing.

Regarding my client’s actions: If anything, it has helped. Why would an O.C.A. [Original Classification Authority] say this could cause harm, because it reinforces the Government’s “Chicken Little” response: “The sky is falling!”

If they feel this, let them come into this courtroom. I would enjoy that cross-examination. The sky is not falling. The sky has not fallen. The sky will not fall.

In your early twenties you believe you can change the world. Make a difference. That’s a good thing. You believe a politician who says, “Yes, we can.” The idea that my client needs to pay with his life is overreacting. This strips the military of credibility.

Let’s give the Government a reality check. Let’s tell them their ruling is over-reacting.

“An individual who breaks a law and they do so because the law is unjust, and they risk jail to arouse the public,” [paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,”] “they’re really expressing the very highest respect for the law.”

Sunlight has always been the best disinfectant. [quoting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis]


Prosecution (Fein): Pfc. Manning was trained and trusted to provide intelligence. He used his time and training to defy our trust and indiscriminately harvest over 700,000 documents from SIPRNet.

He used WikiLeaks‘ “most wanted list” as a guiding light. Pfc. Manning continued to harvest this information knowing it would be used by our enemies. Pfc. Manning knew that the enemies of the United States were using the Internet, and that they could access WikiLeaks.

Your task is to inquire into truth and make a recommendation. The evidence is overwhelming: including a thorough investigation, testimony, date and times, and minute by minute accounts of how he harvested over 300,000 pages of classified information. Communication with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks; uploading files; bypassing security on multiple databases. Wantonly published information.

[Fuller notes that Fein “laid out his coming statement, as he’d review each section of information that Manning allegedly released, and each of the related charges.”]

Pfc. Manning indirectly passed along to WikiLeaks: an Apache video; O.G.A. [Other Government Agency] documents; C.I.D.N.E. Iraq; SOUTHCOM documents; CENTCOM documents; Garani video; the NetCentric Diplomacy database; an individual [US Department of State (State Department) (DoS)] cable 13 January 2010; U.S. Army agency documents; and the US Forces – Iraq Global Address List.

Pfc. Manning was a trained “all-source” analyst. He was trained to do all sorts of things; trained to help leaders make decisions; trained to protect the United States against threats. Manning had to have secret clearance.


Pfc. Manning signed this [N.D.A] and six others. He also took multiple classes on OpSec [Operations Security] and InfoSec [Information Security].


Manning learned that disclosure could damage the national security. He received a briefing that was recovered on his desktop from June 13, 2008. Dates and Times. Definition of OpSec. Individual information. Official information. Adversaries. Methods etc. of the U.S. Army. Manning researched common OpSec leaks. One of these was leaking on the Internet. He was taught that you have to be careful because many enemies have access.

After his deployment to F.O.B. Hammer, he researched the Shia around the time of the Iraq elections. Each of the charged offenses was done at a separate time and date.

Manning’s three main charges spanned six months, but each occurred at different times and with different methods. .22 and .40 SIPRNet computers reveal that he searched for the following:

1.) CIA retention of interrogation videos on 28 November 2009. He then used WikiLeaks‘ “Most Wanted List” without regard for security, to run searches. His searches: 190 times for WikiLeaks; four times: Julian Assange; 26 times for Iceland

2.) His brash and arrogant admissions to Adrian Lamo matched, word for word, what was found on his computer.

3.) C.D. mounting data. When a burn occurs, a year/month/day/min label is placed on that C.D.: 100215_0621/11/wi/c3.txt; 5391001408 Classified information;

4.) Centaur: Class [missed]; G.T.M.O.; C.I.D.N.E.; [missed] Florida…

Apache Video: 12 July 2007. Provided air support information. Pfc. Manning transferred the video to a Macintosh computer. 12Jul07 CZ ENGAGEMENT ZONE OC

Manning conversed with Assange. On February 14, 2009, Manning searched for that video. Just a day later, the video was transferred onto a CD marked with a SECRET sticker. 5 April 2010, WikiLeaks released the video. [Fuller notes that the video was not classified, but because Manning places the sticker that meant he was under the impression that it was classified.]

During the time between the compromise and WikiLeaks‘ disclosure, Manning searched the Internet for the video several times. After it was released, Manning searched for information on the video hourly.

On 22 May 2010, Manning admitted leaking the video to Eric Schmiedl in an email. Then, he spoke to Adrian Lamo.

[Fuller notes, “Next he discussed the ‘’ folder found on Manning’s computer, which he said including classified reports that Manning transmitted to WikiLeaks. He moved on quickly to the C.I.D.N.E. Iraq and Afghanistan logs. He said these logs were only available on the SIPRNet network. Fein said Manning knew these logs contained unit names, reaction techniques, and Medevac procedures.”]

Migrations in Blah folder. With date and time. 22 March 2010 at 12:18. e/Volumes/10032_1255/

[To the Investigating Officer] United States would like you to notate bates numbers 378084 through 378090. Starting with 410623, these documents were classified and located on SIPRNet. Thus Manning knew they were classified.

C.I.D.N.E. was used for intelligence preparation for the battlefield. He knew information was classified. He knew C.I.D.N.E. database contained usernames, call times, etc.

Agent Shaver examined and testified regarding information found at Manning’s aunt’s house. Those documents [missed]; ._README.TXT was created by a Macintosh computer.



[Prosecution mentions reports that were and still are classified.]

Specification eight of charge two. Specification nine: more than three of these were SOUTHCOM documents. J.T.F. G.T.M.O database, only available on SIPRNet.

2009 was his first search. 8 December 2009, accessed. 10 March 2010, attempted to download. He downloaded over 700 documents. 144708 is the document number on WGET. [Missed] Manning chatted with Julian Assange. They discussed the document upload.


Nobody [Government alleges is Manning]: Anyway, I’m throwing everything I’ve got on JTF GTMO at you now. Should take a while to get up though.

Nathanial Frank [Government alleges is Assange]: OK, great.

Nobody: Upload is at about 36 PCT.

Nathanial Frank: ETA?

Nobody: Eleven to twelve hours I’m guessing since it’s been going six already.

[Transcriber notes that the Government also presented chats alleging Assange offered assistance to Manning in cracking a logon password to allow him to search anonymously on a computer.]

Nobody: Any good at LM NT hash cracking?

Nathanial Frank: Yes. We have rainbow tables for LM.

[from Kim Zetter, Wired

In another chat, dated March 8, 2010, Manning asked “Nathaniel Frank,” believed to be Assange, about help in cracking the main password on his classified SIPRNet computer so that he could log on to it anonymously. He asked “Frank” if he had experience cracking IM NT hashes (presumably it’s a mistype and he meant NTLM for the Microsoft NT LAN Manager). “Frank” replied yes, that they had “rainbow tables” for doing that. Manning then sent him what looked like a hash.]

[According to the transcriber, the Government says that the person it alleges to be Julian Assange confirms receipt.] 24 April 2011, WikiLeaks posts the documents.

Farah documents. Transmission of [missed number] Farah documents. Elements of the Garani airstrike video. Documents downloaded and put into the “” folder. Seven Farah files found on Manning’s computer. Manning admitted to Adrian Lamo. Garani video. CENTCOM folder encrypted, could only be opened by password. Less than two weeks after working at S.C.I.F., Manning leaked video to WikiLeaks without viewing it. Garani Airstrike Video: Bates No. 378028. Reports are classified, Manning noticed they were classified.

[Fuller notes, “Fein recalled that the computer’s index.back folder shows when these files (the video and accompanying documents) were downloaded and compressed to a ‘’ folder. He again said Manning admitted this transmission to Adrian Lamo, and that WikiLeaks had tweeted their possession of the files.”]

Specification 3, adding unauthorized software. 251,288 [Department of State (State Department) (DoS)] cables. Cost over $2 million to contain. Searched Google for WGET. Downloaded [Department of State (State Department) (DoS)] cables. Deleted CSV file with over 100,000 [Department of State (State Department) (DoS)]cables. His .22 SIPRNet computer: “Backup.slxs”

Contained three spreadsheets:

1.) WGET
2.) 03100410
3.) 0510

ID Date/Time
251288 2010-03-01 0:25
251289 2010-03-01 0:27

28 March to 9 April 2010: Constant activity. Methodical process of numbered files. Moved all 251,288 [Department of State (State Department) (DoS)] cables onto his personal computer. Documents were and still are classified.

2010 Reykjavik 13, gave to WikiLeaks. Rather than researching Shia threat, Manning researched Iceland. He admitted that 10 Reykjavik 13 was a test. Why Iceland? Because it was the base for Julian Assange.

Bates No. 376903, a classified document. 1 December 2009, searched Intelink for WikiLeaks for the first time. 29 December 2009, accessed again. 1 March 2010, searched for WikiLeaks. 15 February 2010, transferred report to WikiLeaks. 15 March 2010, WikiLeaks released.

By searching for WikiLeaks, Manning found info on how transmitting classified information to WikiLeaks could do harm. Known terrorist entities like Al Qaeda use WikiLeaks for their own information.

United States Forces – Iraq GAL [Global Address List] includes the names, ranks, etc. for thousands of service members and civilians. WikiLeaks tweeted: “We would like a list of as many .mil email addresses as possible. Please contact to submit.

TASK: Acquire and exfiltrate the Global Address List from U.S. Forces – Iraq Microsoft Outlook…The string Manning gave to Assange in a chat: 14:80211049faebf44ld524fb24…

A soldier’s C.H.U. [Containerized Housing Unit] is not authorized for storage of classified information. Another charge: that Manning passed information to WikiLeaks knowing that the enemy would receive it. He knew because of an Army report showed that the enemy used WikiLeaks. Enemies of the U.S. [Al Qaeda, etc.] do contain classified material.


[Denver Nicks notes:

“Video features “Adam Gadahn, aka Azzam al-Amriki, an American-born al Qaeda spokesperson, discussing the Collateral Murder video and the State Department cables Manning stands accused of leaking.”]

Transcriber notes that the date of the video is believed to be 6 June 2011.

Al Qaeda is compiling a log of Wikileaks logs.

We have this on a computer. Pfc. Manning’s actions bring discredit to the armed forces.

He used that training to defy our trust, to indiscriminately and systematically harm the United States during a time of war and while deployed. This affects the national security of the US. The charges and specifications are properly grounded and appropriate. It is appropriate for you to recommend that this be court martial.

Investigating Officer: My recommendation is advisory only. This hearing is closed.