July 6th, 2010
10:48 AM ET

Military: U.S. soldier to be charged in leak of strike video

[Updated at 11:46 a.m.] The U.S. military said Tuesday it is pressing criminal charges against Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, 22, for allegedly transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system.

Manning of Potomac, Maryland, is suspected of leaking a classified 2007 video of an Apache helicopter strike that killed 12 civilians in Baghdad, including two journalists from the Reuters wire service, the military said.

Manning was deployed with the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, in Baghdad, Iraq, according to the military.

According to Wired.com, Manning leaked the video to the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.com, which posted the video in April. Wired.com reported that Manning confessed to the leak in a series of online chats with a former computer hacker.

He allegedly owned up to leaking other items to WikiLeaks, including a classified Army document assessing the threat level of the website, according to the article, as well as State Department cables.

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Filed under: Iraq • Justice • Military • National security • Security Brief
soundoff (782 Responses)
  1. Eddie

    Weired,
    This shooting is happening in Iraq. So US soldiers shooting Iraqi civilians in Iraq. I wonder what happens if an Iraqi man shoots in a US civilian in the US.

    Simple, just get back to your country and leave their oil alone.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Newmy

    "It's their fault for bringing kids to a battle"

    A battle? Funny, seems to me like more of an execution when you're shooting at 10 people who cant/arent trying to fight back.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Robb

    The question isn't what the subject of the video is – it's the leak of sensitive files that show others our capabilities in the field. It's a treasonous act and the kid should be tried for it. It's one thing to have your own video camera as a soldier and shoot a scene that you release, it's entirely another to steal a feed and give it away. There's is a code to follow in the military and he chose to break the code.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chris

    There is no glory in unjustified killing. This was murder and we should own up to it. How dare the US Army file charges against the leaker and not the trigger.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Deke

      Grow a brain, you stupid twit.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mike

    A mile from the screams
    A mile from the pain
    A mile from the carnage
    Lightyears from humanity

    July 6, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tee

    QUOTE: "This was a few trigger happy soldiers. After you kill a few people in war, you become numb to the effects that the normal person experiences, and it does really become similar to a video game, where your just killing targets, not humans. Sad but true".

    Bet you've "killed" a bunch of "people" in "war", huh Blackrock? What was your high score, killer? Anyone with the actual experience to make the asinine comment above would know better than to attempt to judge the actions of those who were actually there. Like every other armchair/media expert, you've filtered a few seconds of video with ZERO contect through your X-Box world view, and attempted to make a point. FAIL. Go back to your video games.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. mslman71

    Can't see past your own nose, can you? This video is a modern rorschach test for political and military bias. If you could get a little less excited about seeing what you want to see and step back and ask some context related questions you might have a little more of a clue, although less to whine about. There was an ongoing battle in close proximity to this crew of people, and quite obviously this crew had weapons on them. The actions and movements of these people around an on going engagement is typical of insurgent. So, whether or not they were or were not insurgents is irrelevant. They acted stupidly in the middle of a battle. If I run into a line of police offers doing a standoff waiving a waterpistol it's reasonable to expect that I'll get shot. Even more so if I am actually brandishing a weapon. Stupidity is no defense.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon Hausrath

      There was one AK-47 between a dozen people and the RPG was clearly a photo lens. There was no battle, but a massacre, man. But like you say, if there was fighting in the area, it'd be stupid to be totally unarmed, hence the one AK-47. And furthermore, this is just the video that got leaked, soldiers routinely plant drop weapons on civilians after killing them, claiming they were insurgents after dropping the AK-47 they brought specifically for that purpose on them. One AK-47 is not evidence that some deserved to die. Just like a camera lens should not provoke an attack helicopter. Get real, man. We're supposed to live in a democracy, not an imperial empire or a war-mongering society!

      July 6, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mslman71

      @ Jon

      Listen to yourself. Your statement is full of the subjunctive. Your assessment in general is based upon what could be and not what the evidence supports. If there were no combat operations going on then what exactly were the camera men taking picture of?

      Pretty much every attack between lightly armed ground personnel and attack helicopters is a massacre. What do you want, fair fights? Just to make sure we can maximize the amount of death on both sides?

      July 6, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jon Hausrath

    Specialist Manning is a hero; he deserves presidential intervention. Soldiers routinely claim civilians to be combatants–claiming they have RPG's (or using drop weapons) after they kill them. The soldiers in this video deserve to be reprimanded, not the whistle-blower! The soldiers in the video even fired on an aid vehicle that had children in it–the children were in the passenger seat to clearly show they were not combatants, but stretcher bearers. Furthermore, the officer corps is so out of touch with reality that I think IT should be disbanded, making the way for a more egalitarian army that elects its leaders from within.
    The officer corps are the real terrorists, terrorizing its own soldiers on a daily basis with threats and I hope a resistance movement against the officer corps grows again–like it did in the Vietnam War!

    July 6, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. go2goal

    I computer enhanced that video....I couldn't find any weapons or AK's or etc.... in that video.

    How many more examples do we need of our Pentagon doing the wrong thing.....and covering their proverbial behinds and as well as their propaganda control mission to preserve their war of choice.

    How many more reasons do we need to bring the troops home....our men and women on the front lines can't tell who a bad guys from innocent civilians. The Generals have placed our front line personnel in an impossible situation...it is Stanley the trader McChrystal and Petreaus (betrayus) that should be standing trial.....these far right religious whack job military leaders are VERY dangerous to our democracy!

    July 6, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Pete

    Although, clearly, Zakn, this was no ambush. Do you even know what 'ambush' means???
    Loitering maybe. Chillin maybe. Hanging out maybe. Ambush, no way.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Fred Davis

    We train our guys and gals to kill the enemy first, so we can bring our people back home safe. We train our guys and gals to eliminate the enemy that violates peace. And some fruitcake has to be the holy one and spill the beans when a mistake happens. The last time I checked bullets don't discern between RPG's and cameras. Collateral damage is a very unfortunate occurrence in armed conflicts. And by the way, when the bad guys shoot video of our people being killed, they dance around the tv screen. They have killed more of their own people than we could ever kill, and of course, blame us. And we are over there getting rid of the terroists on THEIR ground, rather than fight them here on our turf. Many people have forgotten the latter.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Gekko Md

    It's so much easier to second guess what happens from the safety of an armchair. How many of you people are living in the extreme conditions that our soldiers have to operate in, and being on the front line and getting shot at each day by some fanatics who want nothing better to than to kill you by whatever means necessary?

    You have the ability to sit here and talk S_IT because of what our men and women in uniform have done and continue to do to protect your rights. Why don't you move to a dictator regime like Iran or Communist China and say what you do and see what happens. To you, Juy 4th probably has no other meaning than an opportunity to get drunk and talk S_HIT. Next time, remember to thank our men and women in uniform for that.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. thhhhhhhhhh

    Obama should be charged with war crimes!

    July 6, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. randy

    Now I know how Bush got reelected: There is an insurgent in the video that has an RPG. It's very easy to see if you watch the video. We cannot clear reporters out before firing because if we have someone drive up to ask them to leave the insurgents will shoot. Reporters know the job they do is very dangerous and I'm sorry they were killed..But this is war and if you watch the video you will see the insurgent with the RPG...OK...Watch the video first, see the insurgent with the RPG, then make your stupid comments.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bobby

    Take a look at the attached PDF that goes with the video. The journalists were with insurgents who were actually carrying, AK47 and RPGs at the time. So the problem was the journalists were unmarked, no press badges and did not alert US forces of their location.

    Its not a one sided story as it first appeared. That said we all know this war was completely absurd and does not excuse the death and injury of the civilians.

    The guy who leaked the video should certainly not be punished for bringing this to light as it shows just how un-organized the military and chain of command was (is). Fix the system don't punish those exposing its faults.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
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