Share This Page

General reveals damage done by Pfc. Manning's leaks of classified information through WikiLeaks

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 8:36 p.m.

FORT MEADE, Md. — The classified information Pfc. Bradley Manning revealed through WikiLeaks fractured U.S. military relationships with foreign governments and Afghan villagers, a former general said Wednesday at the soldier's sentencing hearing.

It was the first time that testimony about the actual damage the leaks may have caused has been allowed at trial.

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Robert Carr said the material Manning leaked identified hundreds of friendly Afghan villagers by name, causing some of them to stop helping U.S. forces.

“One of our primary missions is to protect the population over there,” said Carr, who led a Defense Department task force that looked at the risks of the leaks. “We had to get close to the population, had to understand that population, and we had to protect them. If the adversary had more clarity, as to which people in the village were collaborating with the U.S. forces, then there is a chance that those folks could be at greater risk.”

A former intelligence analyst, Manning was convicted of 20 of 22 charges for sending hundreds of thousands of government and diplomatic secrets to WikiLeaks and faces up to 136 years in prison. He was found not guilty of aiding the enemy, which alone could have meant life in prison without parole.

Manning's defense is hoping for a much shorter prison sentence and asked the military judge hearing the case to merge two of his espionage convictions and two of his theft convictions. If Army Col. Denise Lind agrees to do so, the private would face up to 116 years in prison.

Carr said the Taliban killed an Afghan man who had a relationship with the United States, and later the Taliban said publicly the man was associated with the Manning leaks. The general, however, could not find the Afghan's name in the material Manning revealed.

The release of diplomatic cables, war zone logs and videos embarrassed the United States and its allies. American officials warned of dire consequences in the days immediately after the first disclosures in July 2010, but a Pentagon review later suggested those fears might have been overblown.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.