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Manning judge shares rationale for verdicts

We may never know why military judge Col. Denise Lind ruled against the government in determining (rightly) that Pfc. Bradley Manning was not guilty of "aiding the enemy."

The rationale behind her string of guilty verdicts -- including six violations of the Espionage Act -- were, however, made available on the request of Manning's defense.

As the ever-reliable Kevin Gosztola reported from Fort Meade:

Judge Army Col. Denise Lind found, “The more than one classified memorandum produced by a United States government intelligence agency was closely held by the United States government. PFC. Manning had reason to believe the information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”

Interestingly, despite the fact the government invoked a recent ruling in the case of Stephen Kim, a former State Department employee charged with violating the Espionage Act, the judge did not adopt the lowered burden of proof in that case, where the judge in Kim’s case found the government did not have to prove the release of the information “would be potentially damaging.”

Manning was convicted of “wrongfully and wantonly causing publication of intelligence belonging to the United States on the Internet knowing the intelligence” would be “accessible to the enemy to the prejudice of the good order and discipline in the armed forces or of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.”

What she found in relation to this charge was that he had clearly committed this offense when he released the information in the database containing Iraq war logs, information in the database containing Afghanistan war logs, the “Gitmo Files,” the reports on an investigation into the Granai air strike in the Farah province in Afghanistan, the 250,000-plus diplomatic cables, the Reykjavik cable and the report from the Army Counterintelligence Center (ACIC) on WikiLeaks as a “threat.”

The judge concluded, “At the time of the charged offense, al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were enemies of the United States. Pfc. Manning knew that al Qaeda was an enemy of the United States.” His conduct was “of a heedless nature that made it actually and imminently dangerous to others.”

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