News / USA

US Army Private, Missing Australian at Center of WikiLeaks Controversy

The U.S. Army analyst accused of downloading classified diplomatic cables toWikiLeaks  has been in custody since May. And the Australian founder of the WikiLeak s website faces his own legal difficulties. We have more on the story causing so much controversy in the world of diplomacy, and what may lie ahead for the two men at the center of it.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the midst of a four-day overseas tour, says she is reassuring other foreign ministers that Wikileaks  will not obstruct American diplomacy.

But what U.S. authorities want to obstruct is the freedom of Bradley Manning - the American soldier who allegedly leaked the classified information. It's still unclear what they'll do with Julian Assange - the man who published it on Wikileaks.  

Assange is in hiding, the subject of a worldwide manhunt. The international crime agency Interpol has him on its most wanted list.  Sweden seeks him on sexual assault charges.   And in the United States...

"There's an ongoing criminal investigation into the leaking and the posting of all these documents," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

"We are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

What charge might the U.S. file against him?  Espionage, for one. Revealing classified information.  But consider this:  the act is nearly 100 years old.  It's never been tested against modern electronic, media. And if it is? Legal scholars say the public's right to know would be the defense

There is plenty of evidence - 250,000 documents.  But with espionage, the government must prove that the classified information damaged national defense. And that might reveal other secrets.

Pat Rowan is a former U.S. assistant attorney general for national security:

"The most harmful documents, the ones that pain the U.S. government for them to be in public, are the same ones that someone in a trial would have to stand up and point to and say, 'Here's why it's harmful.' That further shoves the knife in further and turns the handle a bit," said Rowan.

But Assange is not on U.S. soil.  He is an Australian, thought to be hiding in England.  Rowan says officials should ignore public and foreign pressure to charge him.

"You wait for two or three or four or five years for him to go from a place where he thinks he's safe," said Rowan. "Perhaps he decides to travel around the world because his mother is sick, he goes through an airport in a country where you have good connections with and he's detainted there and brought to the U.S. That's the way the government usually prosecutes these kinds of cases."

Meantime, Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning is in military custody south of Washington.  He is charged with leaking classified documents.  Manning could be court martialed and, if convicted, jailed for several decades.
Jonathan Tracy will be an observer at Manning's trial.  He's a former judge advocate with the U.S. Army.

"It's a serious case so if it's true that he did do this, the military commander is going to consider that a significant breach oc law and will want to charge him at a court martial," said Tracy.

Manning is supported by at least two Websites.  And in addition to his military defense attorney, he has hired a former Army lawyer as a civilian counsel.  Manning has been in jail for six months.

"The military justice system is a very deliberative system, so sometimes that requires that it moves slowly," added Tracy.

So, for a while, the only thing on trial related to Wikileaks, is America's diplomacy abroad.  


Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid