Criminal charges have been filed against a 22-year old Army private accused of leaking a classified video of an Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a number of civilians to the WikiLeaks Web site.
Private First Class Bradley Manning faces two charges and 12 counts of illegally providing classified information to an unauthorized source.
The charge sheet claims that Manning unlawfully accessed the gun camera video of an Apache helicopter attack on July 12, 2007 against suspected insurgents killing an undetermined number of civilians, including two Reuters employees and passed that video onto WikiLeaks. Manning is also charged with unlawfully tapping into the military's Secret Internet Protocol Router Network to obtain the video and more than 200,000 classified State Department cables.
As Bill Roggio explained in this space, the video -- properly understood -- is not as nefarious as the WikiLeaks crowd suggests:
Baghdad in July 2007 was a very violent place, and the neighborhoods of Sadr City and New Baghdad were breeding grounds for the Mahdi Army and associated Iranian-backed Shia terror groups. The city was a war zone. To describe the attack you see in the video as "murder" is a sensationalist gimmick that succeeded in driving tons of media attention and traffic to Wikileaks' website.
Read it here for Roggio's entire analysis.