Soldier charged with leaking Apache attack video
July 6, 2010
Pfc. Bradley E. Manning faces up to 52 years in prison on charges of leaking classified information, including video of a July 2007 Apache helicopter attack that killed two Reuters employees in Iraq.
An edited version of the helicopter’s on-board video feed was given the title “Collateral Murder” and posted on the muckracking website Wikileaks in April. It sparked an international debate over whether the pilot was justified in his use of force.
The video shows the helicopter firing on and killing, among others, a Reuters photographer and a driver after they were mistaken for insurgents. A subsequent Army investigation determined the journalists were among armed insurgents and “there was neither reason nor probability to assume that neutral media personnel were embedded with enemy forces.”
Manning, an intelligence analyst from Potomac, Md., and a member of the 10th Mountain Division, is charged with transferring classified data onto his personal computer and sending it to an unauthorized source, according to a news release from U.S. Division Center in Iraq.
One charge specifies that Manning allegedly disclosed classified information, “with reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United States,” the news release said.
In addition to leaking the Apache helicopter attack video, Manning is charged with illegally obtaining more than 150,000 diplomatic cables and leaking 50 other classified State Department cables.
The charges are in connection to incidents that happened between November 2009 and March 2010 “at or near” Contingency Operating Base Hammer in Iraq.
In a June e-mail to Stars and Stripes, a spokesman for Wikileaks would not confirm that Manning was the source for the Apache video and denied his group had classified cables.
Manning is currently being held in Kuwait, Bloom said. The next step in the process is an Article 32 hearing and then Maj. Gen. Terry Wolff, the commander of U.S Division-Center in Iraq, will decide if Manning must face a court-martial.
Manning was demoted from specialist to private first class in May for a assaulting a fellow soldier, said Lt. Col. Eric Bloom, a division spokesman. The incident was unrelated to the charges.