Overview on Osama bin Laden evidence and prosecution’s move to close the Court for 28 classified witnesses.
Prosecutors have prevented defense forensic experts from conducting a full examination of the digital media containing the "bin Laden evidence". They are also seeking to limit both discovery and cross examination, as well as to prevent defense from conducting a pretrial interview of their anonymous witness, Mr. John Doe, who was involved in the raid of bin Laden's compound and who will testify about the evidence allegedly found there.
Prosecutors argue that the "bin Laden evidence" proves Manning gave intelligence to the enemy, because it confirms receipt by the enemy. Prosecutors also argue that the "bin Laden evidence" proves their case against Manning for "wanton publication of intelligence", because it confirms that the information was made "accessible to the enemy".
Citing "classified information privileges" by the Secretary of Defense over the identity of Mr. John Doe as well as the acting director of the CIA's over classified information related to the bin Laden raid, prosecutors argue there is "no court to mediate or arbitrate what's an appropriate question" by the defense "within the scope of the privilege." Defense objected to treating Mr. Doe differently than any other U.S. Government witness, citing a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront his accusers.
When defense mentioned that the raid of bin Laden's compound was well documented in Hollywood movies and books, lead military prosecutor Major Ashden Fein urged Judge Lind to close the Court: "This is why we said we needed to go to a closed session, your Honor." Redacting his own sentence, Fein added that the "U.S. Government does not necessarily acknowledge-- publicly-- formally-- " Presumably, Fein intended to say that the U.S. Government does not acknowledge its own bias prosecution of a young soldier on 22 charges including the capital offense of aiding the enemy for leaks of information marked at the lowest levels of classification, while issuing a stern letter to the former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, whose published account of the Bin Laden raid, the Department of Defense says violated the terms of his non disclosure agreement to protect classified information.
Judge Lind recently ruled that Mr. John Doe may testify under a pseudonym, in civilian clothing and a light disguise, at an offsite location, in a closed session.
Prosecutors have also sought to closed the court for the classified testimony of 28 other witnesses, including Ambassador Stephen Seche, who legal and national security commentator Marcy Wheeler notes will likely testify that Manning harmed the U.S. by exposing secret U.S. cluster bombing in Yemen and the December 2009 targeting of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen assassinated by the Obama administration.