The sentencing phase of the Bradley Manning trial currently underway is where the government is attempting to show the real world harm done by Manning and WikiLeaks. They're not having much luck–but perhaps they should call in Time columnist Joe Klein.
As the Washington Post reported today (8/1/13), retired Brig. Gen. Robert Carr testified about the work that was done by his Information Release Task Force–a 125-person group that "operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week" at a cost of $6.2 million–all to establish the harm done by Manning.
So what did they find?
On Wednesday, Carr contended that at least one Afghan national was killed as a result of the disclosure of the battlefield reports from Afghanistan. He said the conclusion was based on a Taliban statement that the group had killed the Afghan.
On cross-examination, however, the general acknowledged that his task force was unable to identify the individual by name. The judge in the case, Col. Denise Lind, ruled that the testimony would not be admitted into the record.
And according to the New York Times (8/1/13):
"We were very concerned that folks might choose not to talk to us anymore because the information that came out could be detrimental to their livelihood," General Carr said.
Pressed by one of Private Manning's lawyers, Mr. Carr could not cite specific data showing the effect of the leak on the number of foreign civilians and emissaries talking to the United States, though he said he knew of examples.
Asked whether he was aware of anyone who had been harmed by the disclosures, General Carr said he knew of an Afghan national who had been killed by the Taliban. But a defense lawyer jumped in, objecting that the individual's name had not been found in leaked documents, a point that General Carr acknowledged.
Either the task force was a bust, or the government is calling the wrong witnesses to make its case. They might want to consider Time columnist Joe Klein. After all, a few weeks ago on MSNBC's Hardball (6/12/13), he said this:
I'll tell you something, the real scandal here is that Bradley Manning, the guy who is at the heart of the WikiLeaks scandal, his disclosures put a lot of lives at risk overseas. I know this for a fact, people who were talking to the United States government in places like China all of a sudden had to hide, leave the country. You know, do whatever to survive. This–that is a disgrace. They should throw the book at that guy.
The government spent $6 million and couldn't prove this; Klein says he knows "for a fact" that bad things happened. They should have just asked him and saved a lot of money.