Is the Pentagon withholding WikiLeaks evidence?

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Pfc. Bradley Manning is facing a total of 22 charges - including aiding the enemy - after thousands of classified documents downloaded by the former army intelligence analyst ended up on WikiLeaks.

Manning, represented by civilian lawyer David Coombs, is currently seeking the dismissal of no less than 10 criminal counts. According to Coombs, the Pentagon has failed to disclose key evidence that could help Manning defend himself during an upcoming military trial.

Is the Pentagon withholding WikiLeaks evidence?Indeed, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has yet to complete a search of its own files to determine if there is any material that could be beneficial to the defense - as it is legally obligated to do.

"That the government cannot get its ducks in a row with respect to discovery which is clearly under its control does not inspire confidence," Coombs wrote in legal documents obtained by The Guardian. 

"Why would the government wait until over a year after to begin its search? How could the government not have noticed that for nine months, it had not received any material from any principal officials in the army? If the government cannot even search its own files properly, how can we believe them when they say they have diligently searched the files of other organizations?"

Coombs also noted that he has yet to review any assessments compiled by US embassies around the world regarding the overall impact of the WikiLeaks releases.

"To allow the government to restrict the defense's access to this information is to provide the government with an unfair tactical advantage that will likely prejudice Manning's right to a fair trial," Coombs added.