Update on Released Exhibits and Missing Transcripts for US v Pfc. Manning
- posted December 15, 2013
For the last few months, the Center for Constitutional Rights has been finalizing its suit against Chief Judge Col. Denise Lind filed in the federal district court in Baltimore, Maryland. The CCR suit is seeking access to documents and closed sessions in the court-martial of Private First Class Manning.
On August 21, 2013 Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on twenty offenses including espionage, exceeding authorized access, stealing U.S. government property and wanton publication.
Eighteen months into the court-martial, the public was without access to legal filings and rulings in the largest leak trial in history. The public did not even have an official copy of Manning’s formal plea, any Government filings, or any of the Court’s rulings on aiding the enemy (one of two offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) that apply to any person and not just military personnel). Manning was eventually acquitted of aiding the enemy.
On June 5, 2013, three days into the ‘trial on the merits’, CCR litigation compelled Lind to release some of the then 30,000 pages of court records. Yet, at trial and sentencing most of the critical evidence remained hidden under black-ink redactions or within at least 229 unreleased court exhibits.
As a result of the CCR litigation and FOIA requests some of those 229 exhibits were released on October 25, 2013 (and then later retracted and then released again on December 9, 2013). Many are not released because they are classified or sealed.
All the recently released documents have been added to usvmanning.org. The database also contains documents from the earlier FOIA releases. Some of the documents released earlier contain redactions, while later versions do not. In some cases the redactions are different. In one case, a document released earlier (ENC 03) was later sealed by the military judge. The source of each of the document in the database can be found under the node entitled ‘document information’.
To perform an itemized keyword search of the database go here.
I have also updated the unofficial list of exhibits that I have been maintaining with the newly released exhibits. I’ve marked the classified, sealed, or otherwise inaccessible exhibits in black.
The military judge ruled that military prosecutors must provide expedited transcripts of any closed session witnesses.
Manning was convicted on the Espionage Act and CFAA offenses for probable, not actual, harm. Evidence about the lack of actual damage was excluded at trial and relegated to the sentencing phase. At sentencing, military prosecutors could not link any of Manning’s disclosures to known deaths. Instead, they offered evidence of the government’s mitigation efforts and the expert opinions of lifelong federal employees and contractors.
The US Army has not yet released the unclassified transcripts of the closed session witnesses, most of whom testified during the sentencing phase.
No official transcripts of the proceeding have been released by the Military District of Washington. Portions of official summaries of some Article 32 witnesses are contained, however, within a few of the recently released appellate exhibits.
The following so called ‘expedited’ closed session transcripts are still missing:
May 8, 2013
Ambassador Don Yamamoto, Department of State. (Noted in my personal transcript for the May 7, 2013 Article 39(a) Session.)
July 31, 2013
Mr. John Kirchhofer, Defense Intelligence Agency
August 1, 2013
Elizabeth Dibble, Department of State, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
John Feeley, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Department of State
August 2, 2013
Ambassador Michael Kozak, Department of State
August 6, 2013
Major General Michael Nagata, Joint Staff, Pentagon
Colonel Julian Chestnut, Defense Intelliegence Agency
August 7, 2013
James McCarl, JIEDDO
Adam Pearson, JIEDDO
August 9, 2013
Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan, Naval Warfare Integration, Pentagon
Major General Kenneth McKenzie, USMC Headquarters Staff
For a list of my published transcripts of the pre-trial, go here. They can also be found at usvmanning.org. While I maintained my own transcripts of the trial, for a list of transcripts published by the Freedom of the Press Organization, go here. The FOP transcripts are also contained within the database at usvmanning.org.