Civil Liberties

Arrest Over Iraqi Helicopter Slaughter Video Leak

|


The Christian Science Monitor reports on a security leak arrest over the not-as-controversial-as-it-should-have-been Wikileaks video of a U.S. helicopter in Iraq killing a bunch of journalists and civilians, which I blogged about in early April. The new details:

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.

Some context:

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.

Wired's latest on the arrest, which notes Manning was "arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army's Criminal Investigation Division" and has not yet been formally charged. (The people doing the killing in the leaked video haven't been either, though they weren't arrested.) The person to whom Manning allegedly confessed, in presumed confidence, a hacker named Adrian Lamo, was ironically himself a former contributer of funds to wikileaks, but Wired reports that

Lamo…agonized over the decision to expose Manning — he says he's frequently contacted by hackers who want to talk about their adventures, and he has never considered reporting anyone before. The supposed diplomatic cable leak [he allegedly told Lamo he'd leaked a quarter million classified U.S. embassy cables as well], however, made him believe Manning's actions were genuinely dangerous to U.S. national security.