Redacted court documents could be released in heavily sealed Bradley Manning case

Andrea Papagianis | News | April 2, 2012

In the first movement toward transparency in the tightly sealed trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the man accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks, the court granted the defense permission to publish redacted versions of court filings online. But first, the government will have a chance to review, redact and bring up any concerns with the documents before they are released to the public.

Tomorrow the defense will provide both the court and government with redacted motions, including a motion to dismiss the aiding the enemy charge against Manning. The government has until April 17 to object to the release of the redacted court filings. If these objections are not resolved, the documents will be held and the issues with their release will be deliberated at the next scheduled hearing from April 24 to 26.

In a letter to the Department of Defense sent in March, The Reporters Committee expressed concern over access to documents pretaining to court proceedings on behalf of journalists covering the Manning case. The letter was cosigned by 46 news media organizations and associations.

"Despite the recognition that such access helps promote a perception of fairness and foster a more informed and well-educated public, the overwhelming majority of court records filed in Manning’s court-martial have remained shielded from public view," the Reporters Committee said in the letter. The Reporters Committee asked the department to implement measures to provide reporters and the public with access to court documents.

Pfc. Manning was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 on suspicion of providing classified miltary information to WikiLeaks. While no date is set, his case is expected to go to military trial later this year.

Related Reporters Committee resources:

· Brief: Letter re: access to records in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning

· NM&L: The future of government leakers

· Release: Reporters Committee urges Defense Department to improve record access during Manning court martial

· News: Prosecution, defense rest in Manning hearing

· Off Base: Fighting for Access to Military Court Dockets and Proceedings