WikiLeaks Grand Jury | 7 civilians being target by FBI

WikiLeaks Grand Jury | 7 civilians being target by FBI for #WLGrandJury including #WikiLeaks founders, associates

By Alexa O’Brien on June 21, 2012 5:11 AM

The U.S. is seeking to criminally indict and prosecute Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and others in a multi-agency investigation, unprecedented in U.S. history both in scale and scope.

The FBI is targeting seven civilians for criminal activity and espionage. Those individuals involve the “founders, owners, or managers of WikiLeaks,” according to the testimony of Special Agent Mark Mander from U.S. Army’s Computer Crime Investigative Unit (CCIU).

Defense: Is it your determination…would you agree that my client would have been unable to do this by himself?

Mander: Depends on charge. ‘Something by himself’ …other charges require interaction with others.

Defense: Did my client possess the ability to upload from his cubical in Iraq?

Mander: Yes. He could have upload to multiple sites.

Defense: Would he not also require the cooperation of others to post to (indecipherable)?

Mander: Not if he owned site.

The FBI opened a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks when they partnered with the U.S. Army to broadened the investigation one month, after Manning was arrested in Iraq.

But, Mander says, Neil MacBride, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in charge of the WikiLeaks Grand Jury empaneled in Alexandria, began counseling the Army’s military investigation very early in June 2010. MacBride, hired Andrew Peterson, a WikiLeaks Grand Jury prosecutor, to join the Terrorism and National Security Unit just nine days after Manning was arrested.

Former U.S. Defense Department Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, remarked that the “document leak investigation is ‘broader’ than the Manning case.” Robert Gates, former U.S. Defense Secretary, admitted “one of the reasons” he “asked the director of the F.B.I. to partner with [the D.O.D.] in this [investigation] is to ensure that it can go wherever it needs to go.”

Where it needed to go, according to the U.S. Government, is the Military District of Washington, near Quantico, Virginia – a stone’s throw away from a grand jury in Alexandria.

The day after the F.B.I. partnered with the U.S. Army, Manning was moved from Kuwait to Quantico.

Maj. Gen. Terry Wolff, the general court-martial convening authority and commanding general of the 1st Armored Division/U.S. Division, Center in Iraq, transfered Manning to Quantico, “due to a potentially lengthy pre-trial confinement because of the complexity of charges and an ongoing investigation.”

On that day, Morrell said “It appears that someone – if not multiple people – violated the trust and confidence bestowed on them by their country, and leaked classified information.”

Morrell wasn’t talking about Obama officials.

This month, lead counsel for the Government in the military trial now underway at Fort Meade, told the Court that “Private First Class Manning is a piece of the F.B.I. file.”

The F.B.I. file, Major Fein said, was “42,135 pages or 3,475 documents” not including Grand Jury testimony. Manning, according to the Government, represents only 8,741 pages or 636 different documents in that F.B.I. file. Most of the file, Fein emphasized, is classified.

When the defense provided the Court with a two portions of unclassified grand jury testimony that the Government had provided them, consisting of 30 pages of running black redactions, the lead counsel for the Government, jumped up, interrupted the Judge, instructed the Court that the unclassified black portions were under seal.

…its grand jury testimony…information protected. And, we will provide the Court the protective order that Mr. Coombs and the whole defense counsel had signed based on off your previous order on the Grand Jury testimony. The Assistant US Attorneys went to a Federal Judge to have it approved to be turned over for limited purposes. So, that should at least in our Court be filed under seal.

The Department of Justice has a $1 to $2 Million forecasted contracting opportunity for this year with its incumbent contractor, ManTech in Fairfax, Virginia for “WikiLeaks Software and Hardware Maintenance.” The same contractor asserted at the Article 32 Pretrial that he found a connection between Manning and someone the Goverment alleges was Assange, but on cross-examination, Johnson also agreed that there was no evidence found of a connection to a known WikiLeaks associate.

The ManTech contractor claims are no different than claims made by numerous other F.B.I. contractors, sloping up the gravy train of the U.S.’ billion dollar intelligence sector in the wake of September 11th and now WikiLeaks.

As U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder put it – Holder authorized the grand jury investigation and is a “colleague” of the Investigating Officer at Bradley Manning’s Pretrial – an inditement and prosecution of Julian Assange and Wikileaks is dependent on “what is going on on the military side.”

That is why the U.S. Government doesn’t want Manning’s defense to get a hold of any of damage assessment that would exonerate Manning or mitigate his punishment. The U.S. Government wants to strong-arm Manning into a plea, to get Julian Assange.

U.S. officials’ carefully worded responses to Manning’s defense questions this month showed guidance was taken not to prejudice a future prosecution of Assange.

Coombs has already begun to lay the a possible defense theory for his client, concerning damage assessments about supposed “future” harm from un-redacted U.S. State Department Cables.

Coombs asked Rena Bitter, Director of Operations Center at the Department of State, “You know that WikiLeaks published un-redacted cables on September 1, 2011?” Bitter replied, “I don’t know ‘who’ released puported un-redactedcables. I know they exist…”

The exploding scale and scope of intelligence bureaucracies in the U.S. run parallel to the sector’s infiltration into every aspect of American civil and civic society, with self-preserving institutions built on the ideology of the ‘war on terror’ and now the ‘war on WikiLeaks’. They espouse a culture and policies, which run counter the aims of real life, and are meant to serve bureaucrats and contractors.

The Government acknowledged at the last Article 39(a) session that the F.B.I. and Diplomatic Security Service (D.S.S.) participated in U.S. Government’s joint investigation. The Government also acknowledged that the Department of State, Department of Justice, CIA, and ODNI [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] are closely aligned with the Government’s joint investigation. The Court then found that ONCIX [Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive] was also closely aligned.

“The State Department became involved with the U.S. investigation immediately because of nature of information obtained in chats,” said Agent Mander.

P.J. Crowley, the former State Department spokesperson, who resigned after publicly criticizing the D.O.D.’s punitive pretrial confinement of Manning, said in early June 2010 that the “State Department was working closely with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division (CID)” in Iraq.

Diplomatic Security Service at the Department of State was responsible for handling all the forensic analysis of Manning’s hard drives that were collected by C.I.D. agents in Iraq. Those hard drives arrived in D.C. on June 10, 2010.

(Note: The other drives in the T-SCIF, according to the Government, the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion “was free to discard”.)

Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice-President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security and the former Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s Counterterrorism Division for the Diplomatic Security Service revealed that a secret grand jury had already issued a sealed indictment for Assange in January of 2011 “Not for Pub — We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.”

A former colleague of Burton, the Director of Counterintelligence and Consular Support for the Department of State was (and still is) responsible for compiling the State Department Damage assessment for WikiLeaks, according to testimony just given in Court this month.

“Sources will die or have died is what I’ve been told, which is a very conservative but reasonable assessment,” wrote Burton.

Reuters reported that “internal U.S. government reviews have determined that a mass leak of diplomatic cables caused only limited damage to U.S. interests abroad, despite the Obama administration’s public statements to the contrary.”

In March 2011, director of national intelligence, James Clapper remarked before the Senate Armed Services Committee that WikiLeaks was a threat to U.S. national security because it had a “chilling effect” on the U.S. information sharing environment (not the First Amendment): “I am more concerned about the [sources] we won’t get in the future, that we can’t count who won’t engage with us because of fear if revelation.”

Central the U.S. prosecution angle narrowing in on Manning, Assange, is the threat Wikileaks will allegedly pose to the future U.S. information sharing environment.

The U.S. Government is vulnerable to the same tactics it devised in the U.S. Department of Defense’s 32 page counterintelligence memo against WikiLeaks, produced under the Intelligence Analysis Program, entitled, – An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?

And, the U.S. is going to try to make an example of Manning, Assange, and all the other journalists who contribute to what Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee refers to as a Culture of Disclosure.

The hegemony of the U.S. military intelligence sector is based on the ability of the U.S. Navy to dominate the world’s oceans – due partially to the superior numbers and technology of U.S. naval vessels, augmented significantly by U.S. dominance in space-based reconnaissance technology, made possible incidentally by entertainment software consumers and movie goers world-wide; and, the its ability to control the media cycle and the information environment.

Information sharing is encouraged and source protection is sacrosanct for spooks, for the rest of us, the workings of Government is on a “need to know” basis, or else…

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