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US v Pfc. Manning | Three 'Special' Classified Witness and the Red Cell Memos

Within the list of 28 witnesses for whom military prosecutors sought Court closure for classified testimony at the upcoming trial of Manning are Mr. John Doe and three 'special' witnesses whose testimony the Court ruled on May 7 would be closed 'in entirety'.

Presiding military judge, Col. Denise Lind, also ordered prosecutors to provide the Court with a plan by May 20 for how they intend to expedite unclassified transcripts of the closed session for the public of the testimony of Mr. Doe and the three 'special' witnesses.

Executive privilege was invoked over the identity of the three special witnesses-- known as number "(3), (11), and (22)". Their testimony is classified SECRET.

On May 7, Judge Lind announced that the three 'special' witnesses will testify concerning Specification 3 and 15 or Charge II, which concern two CIA Red Cell Memos-- a CONFIDENTIAL report entitled, "Afghanistan: Sustaining West European Support for the NATO-led Mission--Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough"; a SECRET report, entitled "What If Foreigners See the United States as an 'Exporter of Terrorism'?"; and a SECRET 2008 US Army Counterintelligence Center's report entitled, "(U) Wikileaks.orgĀ² An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?"

Defense did not object to the closure of the Court for Mr. Doe or the three 'special' witnesses. Judge Lind announced that she made her determination for closure in part because the classified information was not already 'lawfully' in the public realm. [This sentence was amended after the May 21 Session when the Judge amended her May 7 ruling to read 'lawfully in the public realm' from 'in the public realm.]

Judge Lind also ruled that the disclosure of the classified information could threaten witness safety and cause 'serious harm to national security' and 'foreign relations.'

Robert Roland from the CIA

A year and a half ago, defense requested oral depositions of four original classification authorities-- USG witnesses who will testify that the charged information was closely held by the US Government and related to the national defense.

One of those OCA's reviewed "two memoranda produced by a United States government intelligence agency."

Defense had requested seven OCA's to testify at Manning's December 2011 Article 32.

Witnesses No. 39 to 45 are the seven OCA witnesses requested by defense. The Investigating Officer at the Article 32 denied the request.

Defense then requested a "subsequent Original Classification Authority OCA...after the Article 32 as soon as his identity was known." That made a total of eight original classification authorities.

At the March 16, 2012 Article 39(a) Session the names of eight OCA's were revealed in open Court. They included Robert Roland.

In Judge Lind's ruling on the defense motion to compel OCA depositions, she recited descriptions for seven of the OCA's-- except for Roland. Judge Lind redacted his description from open Court.

But, Roland was described in two filings as "not being produced by the government at the Article 32 hearing."

Roland is the "subsequent Original Classification Authority OCA [that] was requested [by defense] as soon as his identity was known to the Defense."

Robert Roland and the CIA Red Cell Memos

Roland also performed the classification review for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Red Cell Memos.

During Manning's statement at the Providence Inquiry on February 28-- where he pled to nine lesser included offenses of the Espionage Act charges (with substituted time frames of offenses) and one violation of a lawful general regulation (also with a substituted time frame for the offense)-- he explained that he downloaded two documents on March 22, 2010.

Those documents when cross referenced with the substituted time frames in his formal plea pertain to Specification 3 of Charge II or "two memoranda produced by a United States government intelligence agency." Manning stated:

"The content of two of these documents upset me greatly. I had difficulty believing what this section was doing...I downloaded the two documents that I found troubling. I compressed them into a zip file named blah.zip and burned them onto a CD-RW. I took the CD-RW to my CHU and saved the file to my personal computer. I uploaded the information to the WLO website using the designated prompts."

On March 26, 2010 WikiLeaks published the "CIA report into shoring up Afghan war support in Western Europe." On August 28, 2010, WikiLeaks published "CIA Red Cell Memorandum on the United States "exporting terrorism." Both documents are the only CIA documents published on the WikiLeaks web site which coincide with the timeframe of Pfc. Manning's charged offenses.

Robert Rowland, the CIA, the Red Cell Memos, and Special Witness/es

At Manning's arraignment-- the first day in Court in front of Judge Lind over a year and a half ago-- lead military prosecutor, Major Ashden Fein, theatrically accused defense of a classification spillage in its early defense motions.

Early defense motions include the filing cited above regarding Roland.

Defense security experts disagreed that a spillage occurred. To complicate matters, the Court Protective Order-- which deemed the Court Security Officer as the ultimate authority on spillage-- had not yet been signed.

The Court later acknowledged that there had been two classification spillages in the case within the first two months of the pretrial. Judge Lind did not specify who was responsible for the spillage.

At the March 16, 2012 Article 39(a) Session the names of eight OCA's were revealed in open Court. Those names included Robert Roland.

Executive privilege was invoked over the identity of the three special witnesses including the witness or witnesses from the CIA who will testify about two CIA Rell Cell Memos mentioned above. Robert Roland's name is not found on the list of 24 other witneses, whose classified testimony Judge Lind will rule on this week.