Monday 23 October 2017

Manning list 'could prompt attacks'

Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, near Baltimore (AP/Patrick Semansky)
Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, near Baltimore (AP/Patrick Semansky)

A huge database of troop names and email addresses a US army private allegedly downloaded to a personal computer could be used by foreign adversaries to launch cyber attacks on service members, a government witness said as the trial of Bradley Manning entered its third week.

Manning, a 25-year-old from Oklahoma, has acknowledged he sent more than 700,000 battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and other materials to WikiLeaks, but he pleaded not guilty to a charge of stealing a veritable address book of troops deployed to Iraq. The military's Global Address List included the names, ranks, email addresses and positions of all 74,000 US military personnel who were in Iraq in early 2010. WikiLeaks never published the list.

As part of the theft charge, prosecutors tried and then abandoned an effort to prove the list had monetary value. "Much more dangerous to us as the army or as the government is the ability to ... to target individuals" with the emails, said Armand Rouillard, a cyber-threat analyst testifying for the prosecution.

Foreign adversaries could use them to target those addresses with fake offers meant to trick troops into clicking on links that would download malicious programming on to their government computers, Mr Rouillard said.

He was one of 10 witnesses to give evidence as prosecutors continued moving quickly through Manning's court martial at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. The former army intelligence analyst is charged with aiding the enemy. He has admitted sending reams of government secrets to WikiLeaks, but says he did not think it would hurt national security. Manning says he leaked the material to expose wrongdoing.

The military judge, Colonel Denise Lind, said no more evidence will be presented until June 26. She will hear oral arguments later on evidentiary issues. The prosecution and defence will spend the next week negotiating written statements to be submitted on behalf of 17 witnesses.

So far, the military judge has heard from more than 50 of the government's approximately 140 witnesses. Last week's testimony involved battlefield reports and videos, and still to come is evidence about 250,000 diplomatic cables Manning allegedly stole from a State Department database that WikiLeaks published.

Other testimony included statements by a former official at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who said sensitive documents were released regarding the system there.

Leaked threat assessments about detainees at the prison included personal information the US had gathered on them as well as data on how they were captured, who they associated with and so on, said Jeffrey Motes, an intelligence analyst at the prison who gave evidence in a written statement. He said the documents included recommendations for handling of the detainees and might have included information the prisoners did not know the US had collected on them.

A former Guantanamo commander, Rear Admiral David Woods, said in a statement the documents also revealed sources of US intelligence and other types of information that "could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security of the United States" if publicly released.

Press Association

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