FT. MEADE, Md. -- Retired Army Brig. Gen. Robert A. Carr, the government’s first witness in the sentencing phase of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court-martial, testified Wednesday that Manning’s disclosures to WikiLeaks endangered U.S. ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Manning was found guilty of violating the Espionage Act but was acquitted of the more serious charge of aiding the enemy by making the material available to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Military prosecutors now are out to win a maximum prison term of 136 years for the 25-year-old soldier.
Carr, who worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency, also headed a Defense Department task force that assessed the fallout from the leaks.
Manning disclosed more than 700,000 combat strategies, State Department cables and terrorism detainee assessments, and Carr said the U.S. military was stunned to discover so much material had been given to WikiLeaks.
Carr testified that by exposing so much classified material, countless lives were put at risk.
“It’s a nasty world,” he said. “In some cases, lives will be harmed.”
But Carr did not specify who was harmed by Manning’s disclosures. He did say that sources of information dried up and “quit talking to us as a result of the releases.” He also said that U.S. supply lines were compromised because details of military logistics were divulged and secret surveys of communities in Afghanistan were jeopardized.
Another government witness, John Kirchhofer, deputy chief financial officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency who worked under Carr on the task force, described meeting with angry NATO partners in Europe the week WikiLeaks posted classified material about the war in Iraq.
“There were some unpleasant comments directed at me and some accusations directed at the U.S.,” he said. “They were aggressive. People got chesty.”