from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2013, Issue No. 26
March 12, 2013

Secrecy News Blog:


At an open hearing on February 28, Pfc. Bradley Manning said that he was responsible for providing U.S. government documents to the WikiLeaks website, including a large collection of U.S. State Department cables, a video of a brutal U.S. Army helicopter attack in Baghdad, and other records.

"The decisions that I made to send documents and information to the WLO [WikiLeaks Organization] and website were my own decisions, and I take full responsibility for my actions," he told the military court.

The Army belatedly released a redacted copy of Pfc. Manning's statement yesterday. (An unofficial version had been privately transcribed by Alexa O'Brien soon after the hearing.)

The Freedom of the Press Foundation obtained an audio recording of the statement, which it released online:

Manning eloquently expressed his motivations for the unauthorized disclosures, including the need to expose corruption and deception in the conduct of diplomacy and military operations. He described the efforts he made to weigh the possible damage that might result from disclosure, and the judgment he made that release of the records was the appropriate step.

But he did not acknowledge that any other individuals had been placed at risk by his actions, nor did he take responsibility for any consequences they might suffer. Taliban leaders said in 2010 that they were scrutinizing the Afghanistan war records published by WikiLeaks and that they would "punish" persons listed in the records who were found to have cooperated with the U.S. military.


The latest products from the Congressional Research Service include these items.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress, March 8, 2013:

What's the Difference? -- Comparing U.S. and Chinese Trade Data, February 25, 2013:

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, March 8, 2013:

Hugo Chavez's Death: Implications for Venezuela and U.S. Relations, March 8, 2013:

"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions, March 11, 2013:

U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends, March 7, 2013:


The Commander of U.S. Central Command said last week that he is "encouraged" by the willingness of U.S. intelligence agencies to share information with military allies, which is becoming "a standard practice rather than the exception." At the same time, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee complained that her committee has not been receiving the intelligence information that it requires to perform its oversight function.

"As I travel throughout the AOR [area of responsibility] and see the promise of new initiatives and the risk posed by numerous challenges, I receive requests from military leaders across the region to increase intelligence sharing between our militaries," said Gen. James N. Mattis, CENTCOM Commander, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 5.

"In order to demonstrate our commitment, I requested the Intelligence Community to begin drafting releasable products for our most trusted partners in the Levant, on the Arabian Peninsula, in the Central Asian States, and in South Asia as a standard practice rather than the exception," Gen. Mattis said.

"I am encouraged by the personal attention the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is giving these matters. Director Clapper's strong emphasis and encouragement for the intelligence community to produce intelligence in a manner that eases our ability to responsibly share information with our military counterparts creates a stronger, more focused front against our common enemies and builds our partner nations' confidence. We are grateful for the nimble manner in which our intelligence community has strengthened our efforts to checkmate more of our enemy's designs," Gen. Mattis testified.

But in a notable contrast, congressional leaders say they have not gotten similar cooperation from the intelligence community, and they have less reason for encouragement.

"There is a very strong feeling on both sides of the aisle that the [intelligence] committee is not receiving the information it needs to conduct all oversight matters in the manner in which we should," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, during the Senate confirmation of John O. Brennan to be CIA Director on March 7.

"There is the matter of Office of Legal Counsel opinions concerning the targeted killing of Americans. The committee needs to understand the legal underpinning of not only this program but of all clandestine programs, of all covert actions, so we may ensure the actions of the intelligence community operate according to law," Sen. Feinstein said. "Absent these opinions, we cannot conduct oversight that is as robust as it needs to be."

With respect to the opinions on targeted killing, at least, the committee was finally able to reach an accommodation with the Administration while the confirmation process was pending, which included "staff access and without restrictions on note taking," she said.

"I want to thank the administration. I think increasingly they understand this problem of the need for us to access more information. It is not a diminishing one, it is a growing one, and it is spreading through this House-- and I suspect the other House as well," Sen. Feinstein said.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he "reluctantly opposed" the confirmation of Mr. Brennan because "the administration has stonewalled me and the Judiciary Committee for too long on a reasonable request to review the legal justification for the use of drones in the targeted killing of American citizens."


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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