Amy Davidson is troubled by the implications of the prosecution’s claims against Bradley Manning:
According to the AP, prosecutors singled out an 1863 case in which a soldier named Henry Vanderwater was convicted of giving a command roster to a Virginia newspaper, which printed the information. “Publishing information in a newspaper [can] indirectly convey information to the enemy,” a prosecutor quoted by Politico argued. Can anyone aid the enemy by giving information to a reporter? Are reporters aiding the enemy if they publish it—and who, by the way, is “the enemy”?
[A]iding the enemy is a charge of a different degree than simply exposing classified information. It involves intent and carries heavier penalties. It is also the sort of charge that, in wartime, or anytime, almost invites overreach.
Greenwald asks why “Bob Woodward’s [White House] sources” aren’t on trial under this reasoning:
Bob Woodward [has] become one of America’s richest reporters, if not the richest, by obtaining and publishing classified information far more sensitive than anything WikiLeaks has ever published. For that reason, one of Woodward’s most enthusiastic readers was Osama bin Laden asthis 2011 report from AFP demonstrates…
If bin Laden’s interest in the WikiLeaks cables proves that Manning aided al-Qaida, why isn’t bin Laden’s enthusaism for Woodward’s book proof that Woodwood’s leakers – and Woodward himself – are guilty of the same capital offense? This question is even more compelling given that Woodward has repeatedly published some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets, including information designated “Top Secret” – unlike WikiLeaks and Manning, which never did.