Secret Defense Dept. Report Shows Manning Leaks Did No Serious Damage

from the confirming-unofficial-statements-from-US-officials dept

Prosecutors seeking to justify a lengthy sentence (and the abuses that had already occurred) in the Chelsea Manning case insisted the documents she leaked had caused serious damage to those exposed by them. They said this even as multiple government officials admitted the most the United States had suffered was some embarrassment.

Jason Leopold has obtained an official assessment of the Manning leaks which shows the same thing: no real damage was done.

Regarding the hundreds of thousands of Iraq-related military documents and State Department cables provided by the Army private Chelsea Manning, the report assessed “with high confidence that disclosure of the Iraq data set will have no direct personal impact on current and former U.S. leadership in Iraq.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean no damage was done. But the report confirms the United States didn’t suffer from the Manning leaks.

The report also determined that a different set of documents that was published the same year, relating to the U.S. war in Afghanistan, would not result in “significant impact” to U.S. operations. It did, however, have the potential to cause “serious damage” to “intelligence sources, informants and the Afghan population” and U.S and NATO intelligence collection efforts.

The report [PDF] also notes investigators located the encrypted Wikileaks “insurance” file — one Julian Assange says he’ll release the key to if he feels his ability to disseminate information is threatened. (Stay tuned!) The assessment concludes it’s unlikely this file contains anything damaging either.

Based on public statements by Assange, the IRTF assesses with moderate confidence that the “Insurance File” does not contain any USG data beyond what the IRTF has already reviewed.

The document dates back to 2011. It may have been some use in Manning’s defense during the trial (a defense severely limited by the nature of espionage proceedings). As Leopold notes, Manning was not allowed to view this report. Instead, she was forced to fight the charges blind while prosecutors cherry-picked portions of the report to bolster their arguments.

Not that any of this matters at this point. The damage has already been done to Manning’s life. And Manning’s prosecution likely serves as a low-key chilling effect to dissuade potential leakers and whistleblowers from publicly humiliating the US government. But it does show the government is willing to use evidence that doesn’t actually exist to secure a conviction.

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Comments on “Secret Defense Dept. Report Shows Manning Leaks Did No Serious Damage”

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Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Reminder: This story is dealing with at least three different sets of leaks.

– Manning’s leak of military documents, including the “Collateral Murder” video.

– Manning’s leak of State Department cables. Which, given that three million government workers and soldiers had access – and in some cases foreign government officials – with no tracking of their access and distribution – were marked “secret” only ironically.

– “A different set of documents that was published the same year.” The ones you refer to, which if I understand correctly, was leaked by someone else.

Anonymous Coward says:

really, everyone already knew that. the issue wasn’t what harm had been done to the troops operating in the war, it was the embarrassment suffered by the government and the military of what they had done, been doing and wanted to carry on doing! the rules are that any official body, any official person can do whatever the fuck they like, when they like, regardless of the consequences and regardless of whether they are right or not, but ordinary people, whether in or out of any uniform and whether at home or overseas, are not allowed to do a damn thing, especially if it reveals the crap that those above are pulling! if there are people, especially innocent civilians involved and hurt or killed, no government or military body want those facts revealed! this was just another example of whistle blowing, where the ones actually at fault will do and say anything so as to make sure it is the whistle blower who gets the blame, gets the court conviction and the prison sentence (or, if possible) the death penalty, when they haven’t done anything except make people aware of what is going on under the pretence of saving/serving ‘National Security’!!

Anonymous Coward says:

” … the documents she leaked … “

But wasn’t “she” still a “he” when that event took place? Apparently Google still sees Chelsea Manning and Bradley Manning as two separate people. one way to rewrite history perhaps.

Call it “Blackwater Syndrome” perhaps, but it seems people and organizatiopns that achieve a high level of notoriety have historically tended to change their names (in Blackwater’s case multiple times) while the new trend currently in fashion involves changing one’s “sex” as well, giving prisons a hard time deciding what to do in the current legal framework.

As far as causing “damage” to the military, it’s about the same degree as videos depicting police brutality, which essentially just reveal the uncensored reality of state-sponsored violence that the state would rather the public not know about.

Personanongrata says:

Viva Chelsea Manning

Secret Defense Dept. Report Shows Manning Leaks Did No Serious Damage

The Serious Damage was self-inflicted on the part of the US government.

Chelsea Manning took the only step a patriot and a person of conscience could do and liberated the material into the wild for public consumption and debate.

The material liberated by Manning – The Iraq War Logs – expose rampant criminality (eg torture, indefinite detention without charge, kidnapping etal) on behalf of the US government and it’s agents.

If the defective body that calls itself the US (not-so) supreme court wasn’t busy aiding/abetting Federal Officials in the commission of their criminal unconstitutional acts by removing all legal mechanisms for accountability perhaps these criminal wars (ie military interventions) could be brought to an end sooner rather than later but alas it is not to be as the federal court jesters act to shield US government criminals from accountability.

mabbity says:


“”a defense severely limited by the nature of espionage proceedings)””

Seriously???? It’s not the limited nature of anything, it’s pure corruption, pure and simple. The government is corrupt and it’s getting the laws to define it’s own version of corruption.

The balance has been lost and because of this the American people are lost.

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