Soldier arrested in WikiLeaks classified Iraq video case
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.
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The Reuters employees were killed in the attack.Skip to next paragraph
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Manning’s arrest may be the result of a Justice Department crackdown on leaks to the press.
In May, FBI linguist Shamai Leibowitz was sentenced to 20 months in prison after pleading guilty to passing classified information to a blogger.
In April, former National Security Agency senior executive Thomas Drake was indicted on charges related to the possession of classified information and obstruction of justice. The indictment alleges that in 2006 and 2007 Drake passed along highly classified data to a newspaper reporter, who wrote a series of articles about the NSA based on the information.
The Obama White House would be far from the first administration bedeviled by leaks.
At a May 12 hearing of a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee on terrorism, former CIA general counsel Jeffrey Smith noted that every administration in which he had served had suffered from leaks he considered to be harmful.
“And every administration has struggled to solve the problem, but none has had much success,” said Mr. Smith.
Absent a guilty plea, as occurred in the case of Mr. Leibowitz, leak prosecutions are notoriously difficult.
Finding the leaker in the first place is hard, said Kenneth Wainstein, a former Assistant Attorney General for National Security, at the May 12 Senate hearing. Producing incriminating evidence is also difficult, since in most cases prosecutors are reluctant to subpoena the receivers of leaks – members of the press.
Agencies from which the information was leaked are often not eager to prosecute, on the theory that open court proceedings might simply reveal more classified information. Plus, leak cases are often marked by zealous and novel legal defenses.
“For all these reasons, leak cases, especially leak cases to the media, are exceptionally challenging,” said Mr. Wainstein.
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