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.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: chelsea manning, damage, defense department, dod, leaks, state department
Companies: wikileaks

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2017 @ 6:30am

    huh yea...

    There was definitely some serious damage.

    To their EGO's!
    There is NOTHING worse than damaging the ego of people with power.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.