CENTCOM’s Kevin Donegan testifies about WikiLeaks’ war logs, confirming no resulting casualties: trial report, day 31

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. August 9, 2013. 

Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan, drawn by Debra Van Poolen

Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan, drawn by Debra Van Poolen

Former Central Command (CENTCOM) Director of Operations, Rear Admiral Kevin M. Donegan, testified today about CENTCOM’s response to WikiLeaks’ 2010 releases, notifying identified individuals of potential risk, and the response effort’s impact on CENTCOM. 

RADM Donegan was part of a 24/7 WikiLeaks response team that worked from August 2010 to May 2011, coordinating with the Information Review Task Force (which Brig. Gen. Carr testified about last month). “We dealt with the WikiLeaks thing for my entire time” at the Pentagon, he said. He is now Director of Warfare Integration for the Pentagon. 

RADM Donegan issued 2 Fragmentary Orders (FRAGOs), to Iraq and Afghanistan, notifying U.S. military commanders of individuals identified in the WikiLeaks-released war logs so that they could inform those identified that they were potentially at risk of harm. He left it up to commanders to decide if the benefit of notifying outweighed any risk the mission to notify entailed. Sometimes, he said, commanders had to notify a village instead of a single person, as “each area of Afghanistan has a shadow Taliban governor” associated with it who could retaliate against anyone offering assistance to U.S. forces. 

Though he said some of these notification missions were potentially dangerous, RADM Donegan said that he identified no U.S. casualties as a result of these ‘duty to inform’ operations. 

Defense lawyer Maj. Thomas Hurley asked RADM Donegon to clarify whether these individuals identified were “sources,” as that term typically refers to Human Intelligence (HUMINT) sources that the U.S. works with continually. RADM Donegan said that these individuals were not HUMINT sources; these are any people who have cooperated with U.S. forces and could therefore be at risk of retaliation. 

RADM Donegan testified about the usefulness of the Significant Activity (SigActs) reports to the enemy, alleging that they sometimes signaled future operations if viewed with other SigActs. He said the reports didn’t individually disclose ‘doctrine’ – for example, how the U.S. would react to a certain enemy tactic – but that doctrine would be easy to deduce.

The government then moved to question RADM Donegan, as it has with nearly every other sentencing witness, in a closed session.

In the trial’s merits portion, the defense submitted a letter from RADM Donegan confirming that the Collateral Murder video was unclassified and did not disclose TTPs, contradicting testimony from Apache pilot John LaRue.


Maj. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie testified in a brief open session before the court moved again to a closed session. He was Deputy to the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) for Stability, for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2009-10. He traveled to the Middle East’s gulf states, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, up to Jordan, to maintain face-to-face relationships with these nations. He testified that despite chronic instability in that region, he’d felt in 2010 that the U.S. was “building trust” with these nations. 

Asked if he observed an “impact” on CENTCOM’s relationship with these releases as a result of WikiLeaks’ release of State Dept. diplomatic cables in November 2010, Maj. Gen. McKenzie said “yes” and the prosecution moved to close the court after that.

The defense is scheduled to begin its sentencing case Monday, at 9:30am ET. 

2 thoughts on “CENTCOM’s Kevin Donegan testifies about WikiLeaks’ war logs, confirming no resulting casualties: trial report, day 31

    • The defense will be there. Closed sessions are where they kick out the spectators and take testimony that is classified. We’ll read all about it in 25 years (unless someone else wants to do a leak…)

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