U.S. military: No evidence yet of Assange-Manning collaboration

Although the U.S. State Department has reportedly downplayed the impact of WikiLeaks’ cable disclosures in private, the Justice Department is still trying to find grounds to bring WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange to trial in the United States. Doing that requires proving that Assange actively collaborated with his alleged source, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to obtain the ...

Although the U.S. State Department has reportedly downplayed the impact of WikiLeaks' cable disclosures in private, the Justice Department is still trying to find grounds to bring WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange to trial in the United States. Doing that requires proving that Assange actively collaborated with his alleged source, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to obtain the cables; Assange has said from the beginning that this never happened, and that he didn't even know Manning's name until it was reported in the media.

NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports that the U.S. military's investigation into the affair, thus far, bears out Assange's story:

U.S. military officials tell NBC News that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

Although the U.S. State Department has reportedly downplayed the impact of WikiLeaks’ cable disclosures in private, the Justice Department is still trying to find grounds to bring WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange to trial in the United States. Doing that requires proving that Assange actively collaborated with his alleged source, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to obtain the cables; Assange has said from the beginning that this never happened, and that he didn’t even know Manning’s name until it was reported in the media.

NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports that the U.S. military’s investigation into the affair, thus far, bears out Assange’s story:

U.S. military officials tell NBC News that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The officials say that while investigators have determined that Manning had allegedly unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents onto his own computer and passed them to an unauthorized person, there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure.

Manning is still being held at the Marine Corps Quantico base in Virginia, where he has been charged with eight crimes. He was put on suicide watch for two days last week, and his lawyers have alleged that he has been abused while in detention.

Charles Homans is a special correspondent for the New Republic and the former features editor of Foreign Policy.

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