Bradley Manning and 'Aiding the Enemy'

Friday, March 15, 2013


Late last month, Bradley Manning pled guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him for leaking a trove of information to WikiLeaks. He did not plead guilty to 'aiding the enemy,' a capital offense. Brooke talks to University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone about the validity of the 'aiding the enemy' charge.


Geoffrey Stone

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [9]

Frank from Fort Bragg CA

Where do all these tinhorn patriots who live be a simple screed; question nothing and always obey authority come from? They would have all been kicked out of the American Revolution. I can't imagine such non-thinkers achieving an AA much less a BA. How do people go through life trusting government (except Democrats) trusting the Army, trusting Fox News? Is this a failure of our schools? Have they ever studied the lives of true Patriots (say Jimmy Doolittle) and see how much they challenged, questioned and above all thought? These tinhorn screamers missed the entire point of the broadcast, which was not close your eyes and salute the flag. (Seems to me they are saluting the flag of Iran or Cuba or some other place where the thought police punish those who ask questions). The point was about how this was covered in the media.

Mar. 21 2013 01:11 PM

I found almost this entire podcast baffling, in points large and small. One of the small ones, Brooke asks why they charge him with aiding the enemy if they are not going to pursue the maximum penalty of death. Really Brooke, are you that naive about the legal system? The penalty being sought is not related to the charges brought, the latter have to do with what law was broken, while the penalty phase has more to do with the circumstances and extenuating factors surrounding the crime. It was a very silly question. And to assume we know more about "misdeeds"! Talk about a loaded question, and even with that setup Keller backed off that characterization.

On the larger scale, as has been stated here already by a few people that are not in the camp of "blame America first and for everything", this case is only slightly related to the Ellsberg case. The material that was leaked by Manning put real people in harms way, potentially, and he was in the military himself, which carries a much higher standard for handling this information then being a civilian, unless that civilian also promised the military they would keep material confidential. No, I am not saying that if they find clearly illegal activity they need to stay quiet. But that is not the case here. War is messy, and the standard of what is illegal is not as easy as the liberals would like to make it out to be.

Finally, Benkler asserting that it is "dangerous" that prosecuting this charge puts the main stream media in danger is bizarre. As was made clear earlier in the program, the leaker is always in danger of being prosecuted, but the Supreme Court has already ruled that the publisher is protected under the first amendment. This is where Brooke asks her very naive question about the charge versus the punishment. Then Benkler keeps on equating, as did people throughout this program, treason with whistleblowing, and that facing a capital charge will suppress people from coming forward. Don't we want treason to be one of the highest of crimes?

All in all, a very poorly reasoned and badly unbalanced program.

Mar. 18 2013 10:23 AM
Neil Landers from Chicago

THANK YOU for presenting a serious and informative discussion of this very important issue. The presentation was sophisticated and presented listeners with a variety of informed perspectives.

However, a clear bias came across in the presentation. While the government's point of view was made clear, and while there were interviewers presented who were sympathetic to Manning, listeners were not once presented with the crucial perspective that Manning is a hero, committed no crime, and that his prosecution by the US government is altogether without legitimacy. That is, having exposed US war crimes, including the "Collateral Murder" video that makes the criminal status of the actions unmistakeable, Manning's action was, in the opinion of many, a heroic and defensible act of conscience--and that a refusal of Manning to leak such information would constitute complicity with state crimes. This is the opinion of Daniel Ellsberg, for example.

By failing to present your listeners with the full range of serious opinion, your presentation betrayed substantial bias in favor of state interests. A more unbiased presentation would have given proportional air-time to the Ellsberg perspective, rather than omitting it altogether.

Mar. 17 2013 03:29 PM

Sorry but this entire segment glossed over the main fact that Private Manning, was just that - a Private in the Military - who took an oath to put his life on the line for his country. That oath means that even tho you might disagree w/orders, you follow them or accept the consequences of your actions...especially in a war situation. Only the rep from the NY Times, acknowledged that fact, that it was substantially different - Pvt Manning WAS NOT a civilian, like Elsberg...and in this day and age of instant communication, the documents he stole and gave to an outside party, were from that moment on, accessable to the very people that others in the front lines (not Pvt. Manning, btw)...thus he potentially put them in even more danger. THAT is what puts him in the 'traitor' category and should be subject to long term imprisonment (and if one death is attributed to his theft/leakage, then the death penality should be considered) .
I would be in total support of Mr. Manning, if he had been a civilian, but he was Private Manning. For the record, I am a combat Veteran.

Mar. 17 2013 11:36 AM

"...a don't ask - don't tell world..."

The obligatory and pretentious bow to political correctness is almost a reflexive tic on public radio.
It is no excuse for treasonous activity and nobody forced him to join the military.

The fun fact that liberal hero and impeached President Clinton authorized Don't Ask Don't Tell is often omitted when it is discussed since it doesn't serve the media narrative.
The fact that the Obama administration (aka "the government" or "the military") is prosecuting and imprisoning Manning doesn't fit the narrative either may be why it goes specifically unnamed.

Mar. 16 2013 11:45 PM

Very disappointed with the "analysis" provided. Especially the painfully tepid "a little late to the game" off the hook softballs lobbed to Bill Keller of the NYTimes.

Is is too much to ask of a purported media savvy reporter to actually ask a follow up question?

No follow up to Keller's assertion that Manning "betrayed" an oath... while neglecting to properly acknowledge that Manning has an obligation to report criminal actions.... and has taken an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution and US laws.

No follow up on the Keller's ideas about "the press".. apparently satisfied that the government might be going after Wikileaks because they are "too" critical of the government.

Yes, Wikileaks might've gotten better "cover' had they been more like the NYTimes, when they refused to publish and thereby shielded and colluded with massive domestic spying by the Bush administration... during an election year, no less. That's the kind of press we need.

No follow up on the idea of the first amendment being accorded only to "the press" whatever he thinks that is.
How about a discussion of the idea of "free speech" adhering to ALL US citizens.... not just some state approved printing press.

I would like to get my hands on a transcript of this AWFUL excuse for an interview.

Mar. 16 2013 02:39 PM

just shot the dumb ass for treason...Oh I forgot they don't care about traitors anymore, just campaign donors and those on welfare that vote to keep them in office. Just shot him.

Mar. 16 2013 02:26 PM

Why is it that the Pentagon Papers is closely tied to the Nixon Administration by the media but this
leak scandal is not tied to the Obama administration? Could that be why the media is so disinterested?
Is this just another "tricky and interesting" double standard by a partisan media?

Mar. 16 2013 01:08 AM
Chris Boese from Brooklyn

THANK YOU for putting the necessary focus on Bradley Manning. I found listening to his entire leaked testimony of Manning. I was struck and surprised by the level of detail and articulate focus of Manning's statement. It needs to be out and about everywhere.

We are so indebted to that leaker! (and FiredogLake!)

Mar. 15 2013 08:27 PM

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