Judge accepts letter rebutting government testimony, other prosecution and defense items: trial report, day 11

Brief testimony gave way to a long recess today, after which we’ll hear several more stipulations of expected testimony. Judge Lind accepted numerous government and defense items for judicial notice. We’ll update this post later today, recapping the remaining testimony.

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. June 27, 2013. 

Special Agent Mark Mander, sketched by Clark Stoeckley.

Special Agent Mark Mander, sketched by Clark Stoeckley.

Bradley Manning’s 11th trial day started at noon, with brief testimony from Special Agent Mark Mander. The prosecution called Mander to discuss his screen captures of two WikiLeaks tweets, one which asked for “.mil email addresses” and one which announced possession of an “encrypted video,” and both of which the defense has previously disputed. (See Day 8 for those disputes.) 

Mander testified that he searched Google for keywords he thought would bring him those tweets, and then he copied the URLs of those search results. The defense established that Mander did not go through WikiLeaks’ actual Twitter feed to retrieve them. This calls into question their authenticity, and if Judge Denise Lind doesn’t accept them, the government might have to call someone from WikiLeaks and/or Twitter to further confirm them, or drop them as evidentiary items.

Judicial notice 

Judge  Lind ruled on defense and government motions to admit items for judicial notice (see day 9 for arguments over those items). She accepted a letter that the defense presented, in which Rear Adm. Donegan says that the ‘Collateral Murder’ Apache video does not divulge “techniques, tactics, and procedures,” (TTPs). The letter rebuts testimony from government witness John LaRue, the former Apache pilot who said the video did disclose TTPs.

She also took judicial notice of other defense items: WikiLeaks-released pager and text messages from September 11, 2001, an audio transcript of the Collateral Murder video, and the fact that Reuters made a FOIA request for the video in July 2007 and that U.S. Central Command responded in 2009.

Judge Lind took notice of all the government’s items as well, except for a key that defined common internet “chat lingo” because it wasn’t verified from a reliable source. The items she did accept included WikiLeaks major 2010 releases, which she said were relevant to show the alleged path of documents from Bradley Manning to WikiLeaks to publication, and therefore relevant to the “aiding the enemy” charge and to whether Manning “caused [documents] to be published.”

She took notice of some military salaries of service members who created the Global Address List and Guantanamo detainee assessment briefs, which go to whether documents Manning is accused of releasing were more valuable than $1,000, a criteria for 18 USC 641.

Update 3:30pm ET

The U.S. recalled Mark Mander to clarify how exactly he retrieved these two tweets at issue. The parties went back and forth several times, questioning Mander about his forensic examination. He said he went back through WikiLeaks’ Twitter account, but could only scroll down to messages from March 29, and he couldn’t find the 2010 tweets that way. For one of the screenshots, he changed the URL to match the one he previously found with Google Cache, to ensure he could find it a different way. Judge Lind asked him why the previous tweets had ‘#!’ in the URL and these newer versions of the same messages didn’t. He said he believed Twitter had changed the site, and also pointed out that they now have ‘https’ to lead the URL instead of ‘http.’ The defense also established that the graphics (images of accounts that had Retweeted or Favorited the tweets) below the Twitter message had changed, and Mander said that he knows “for a fact” that websites can alter parts of webpages.

Update 7:20pm ET

Prosecutors read stipulations from a dozen more witnesses, dealing with the State Department cables. The first ten established various State Department representatives – ambassadors, deputy assistant secretaries, and so on – and all testified to essentially the same thing: that State Department cables memorialize official embassy positions, and summarize meetings or significant events, with analysis or commentary. These stipulations referenced the cables that Manning is charged with releasing, in addition to some uncharged cables that were in the Cablegate database (which is searchable here). 

Another stipulation was from Troy Bettencourt, a special agent who viewed the “cablegate archive” and testified that of the cables he reviewed, no information had been redacted.

Then they read testimony from Original Classification Authority Nicholas Murphy, a senior advisor with the Office of Information Programs and Services at the State Dept. He reviewed 117 charged documents, 96 of them marked Confidential and the remaining 21 marked Secret. He determined that all 117 had been properly classified at the time of their creation and through the first half of 2010, though in his conclusion he said, “I found that portions of some of the cables I reviewed were no longer sensitive.” [Update: here are links to nearly all of the cables reviewed.]

We’re in recess until tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM.

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