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The additional charges leveled at Pfc. Bradley Manning last week provide new information on the timing of Manning’s alleged leaking, including the surprising detail that by the time Manning allegedly leaked a notorious video of a 2007 Army helicopter attack in Iraq, he’d already allegedly passed nearly half-a-million classified documents to WikiLeaks.
The helicopter video, released by WikiLeaks under the title “Collateral Murder” last April, was generally presumed to have been one of Manning’s earliest leaks to the secret-spilling website. The charge sheet released Tuesday indicates that the Army has pinned down the Collateral Murder leak to a six-week period beginning February 15, 2010, and ending with WikiLeaks’ publication of the video on April 5.
By then, according to the new charges, Manning had already leaked other material, including the mostly classified logs of nearly 500,000 events from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that WikiLeaks later published in part as the “War Logs.” Manning allegedly downloaded the War Logs between December 31, 2009 and January 8, 2010, and leaked them on or before February 5 — at least 10 days before leaking Collateral Murder.
The time frame leaves open the possibility that Manning hand carried the War Logs to the United States to leak them from a network not subject to the Army’s monitoring. In late January 2010 — between the time Manning allegedly downloaded the logs, and the last day he might have leaked them — he’s known to have traveled to the United States on a two-week leave. He stayed with his aunt in Potomac, Maryland, for part of that trip, then traveled to the Boston area to visit friends.