- Army Spc. Bradley Manning has been arrested in connection with the April release of classified footage of a US helicopter mistakenly shooting Iraqi civilians to website WikiLeaks.
Christian Science Monitor -
The US Army has arrested Specialist Bradley Manning, a soldier deployed in Iraq with the 10th Mountain Division, on charges that he allegedly released classified information. The military is looking at a possible connection between Spc. Manning and WikiLeaks, an online whistleblower organization which in April published a graphic video of an Apache gunship mistakenly shooting civilians, according to Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.
“The Department of Defense takes the management of classified information very seriously because it affects our national security, the lives of our soldiers, and our operations abroad,” said a statement released by the Pentagon.
The Manning case marks the third time during the Obama administration that authorities have arrested a suspected leaker.
This “seems to reflect an increasingly aggressive response to unauthorized disclosures of classified information,” writes Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, on his Secrecy News blog.
Manning is in pretrial custody in Kuwait, according to the Army. Wired.com reported that he was caught after he boasted to a former computer hacker of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents and the combat video footage, including the gun camera videos of the deadly 2007 Baghdad incident subsequently posted on WikiLeaks.
The former hacker, Adrian Lamo, turned Manning in to the FBI, according to Wired, which broke the news of the arrest.
The Army video published by WikiLeaks is 38 minutes of an aerial mission over Baghdad in which a gunship crew follows and then fires upon a group of men it believes to be militants. In fact, at least two members of the group were civilians – Iraqi natives employed by Reuters as journalists.
The Reuters employees were killed in the attack.
Manning’s arrest may be the result of a Justice Department crackdown on leaks to the press.