Osama bin Laden’s Files Introduced at Bradley Manning’s Trial
12:09 PM, Jul 2, 2013 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Prosecutors in Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s case have introduced an intriguing piece of evidence: Osama bin Laden’s documents, or at least a description of them. The Associated Press reports (emphasis added):
These “battlefield reports” are what Wikileaks refers to as the “Afghan War Diary,” a trove of “over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010.” Wikileaks withheld 15,000 of these reports from its initial release because even the anti-government group recognized the sensitivity of their contents. Still, the diary covers a “range of topics”: “Improvised Explosives Devices encountered, offensive operations, taking enemy fire, engagement with possible hostile forces, talking with village elders, numbers of wounded, dead, and detained, kidnappings, broader intelligence information and explicit threat warnings from intercepted radio communications, local informers or the [Afghan] police.”
It is easy to see why bin Laden would have an interest in the Wikileaks material. The files gave al Qaeda insight into how the U.S.-led coalition viewed the Afghan war.
Another, earlier report in the Guardian (UK) says that bin Laden’s files show he had “frequent discussions of joint operations against NATO forces in Afghanistan” with Taliban chieftain Mullah Omar and al Qaeda’s then number two, Ayman al Zawahiri. It is possible, then, that the files released by Wikileaks could have been used by al Qaeda and the Taliban to better plan such “joint operations.” (The press reports on Manning’s trial do not indicate if any evidence concerning how bin Laden and al Qaeda used the Wikileaks material has been introduced.)
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Recent Blog Posts