Bradley Manning’s Leaks Did Help Al Qaeda, Expert Witness Says

Bradley Manning’s WikiLeaks breach did in fact help al Qaeda operatives, a prosecution witness said Thursday.

Perhaps the thing determining whether or not Manning is in big trouble or really big trouble is whether or not any of the 700,000+ documents he turned over to transparency advocate site WikiLeaks actually compromised national security in a way that jeopardized American lives.

Well, according to an expert on radical Islam who is one of the prosecution’s witnesses, the information leaks actually did help terrorist group al Qaeda. At least, with recruiting.

Navy Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein, a Pentagon adviser, said that Manning’s releases were used to support a claim that “the United States does not value human life.”

Particularly, they used the now-infamous video of a U.S. helicopter gunship firing at suspected insurgents in 2007. A dozen people were killed, including two Reuters staff. A truck containing a child was also shot at. The child was seriously wounded.

Al Qaeda showed the clip to potential recruits with the line “this could be your child,” Aboul-Enein said.

Manning’s defense asked Aboul-Enein whether propaganda was a prominent tool of al Qaeda outside of the WikiLeaks information. He said yes, and added that he cannot attribute any specific tactical victory on al Qaeda’s part to the WikiLeaks information.

Bradley Manning’s court martial is currently in its sentencing phase, and is expected to wrap up on Friday. He has already been found not guilty of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge against him. Still, he could face up to 90 years in prison under the harshest possible conviction.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons]