There's no better way to prop up the seriousness of threats to national security than to get Osama bin Laden involved. That's exactly what the prosecutors in the Bradley Manning case are doing. The military team announced on Tuesday that they would introduce new evidence showing that bin Laden requested and received copies of the same diplomatic cables that Manning had access to and allegedly handed off to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. When you put it like that, though, it sort of sounds like the prosecution is trying to imply that Manning exposed some security vulnerability that gave al Qaeda access to classified government documents. But remember: WikiLeaks started releasing those cables publicly in 2010, a full year before the bin Laden raid. So bin Laden would've had as much access as anyone else.
We'll have to wait on the details, though. This week, Col. Denise Lind, the officer presiding over Manning's trial, delayed the trial until June 3 so that classified documents could be reviewed, perhaps some of them relating to the bin Laden requests. The prosecution also mentioned that it would be introducing new evidence that includes chat logs between Assange and Manning who were apparently "laughing" at the March 17, 2010 New York Times article about the Pentagon listing WikiLeaks as a threat to national security. So we can see, quite predictably, that the prosecution is putting together a case that casts Manning himself as a threat to national security and, in a way, a terrorist himself. And what better way to do that than to link him with the most terrifying of all terrorists?
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