Pentagon Eyes Accused Analyst Over WikiLeaks Data
WASHINGTON—Military investigators are checking computers used by Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst charged this month with leaking classified information, to see if he is the source of thousands of military documents published Sunday by WikiLeaks.
he material released by WikiLeaks relates entirely to the war in Afghanistan, while Pfc. Manning was stationed in Iraq. But investigators are trying to determine what material he was able to get access to and what material he transferred.
Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said investigators are looking broadly to determine where the material was taken from, but acknowledged that Pfc. Manning was a person of interest in the investigation. "He is someone we are looking at closely," Col. Lapan said.
WikiLeaks Sunday published thousands of secret U.S. military documents spanning more than five years. The information is in part humdrum and also dramatic, showing in raw detail the intelligence reports sent from personnel in the field. Among other things, the documents discuss civilian casualties, Pakistan's role in aiding the Taliban and the weapons capabilities of the Afghan insurgency.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, at a news conference in London Monday, declined to comment on the identity of the source who leaked the documents, or on how the source managed to copy and leak them. Asked about Mr. Manning, Mr. Assange said: "There is no allegation as far as we can determine" that the documents posted on WikiLeaks Sunday are "connected to Bradley Manning."
He said WikiLeaks has nonetheless "committed funds" to Pfc. Manning's legal defense, offering his military-appointed legal team money in case it wants to hire civilian counsel.
Mr. Assange said the source who leaked the documents was motivated by a desire "to call attention to a number of these incidents."
Mr. Manning's military defense team didn't respond to requests seeking comment.....................