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WikiLeaks trial witness: Troop email addresses could be used in cyberattacks

Jun. 17, 2013 - 07:27PM   |  
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FORT MEADE, MD. — A huge database of troop names and email addresses an Army private allegedly downloaded to a personal computer could be used by foreign adversaries to launch cyberattacks on service members, a government witness said Monday as the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning entered its third week.

Manning, a 25-year-old Oklahoma native, has acknowledged he sent more than 700,000 battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and other materials to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, but he pleaded not guilty to a charge of stealing a veritable address book of troops deployed to Iraq. The military’s so-called “Global Address List” included the names, ranks, email addresses and positions of all 74,000 U.S. military personnel who were in Iraq in early 2010. WikiLeaks never published the list.

As part of the theft charge, prosecutors on Monday struggled and then abandoned an effort to prove the list had monetary value.

“Much more dangerous to us as the Army or as the government is the ability to ... to target individuals” with those emails, said CW4 Armand Rouillard, a cyberthreat analyst testifying for the prosecution.

Foreign adversaries could use them to “spear phish,” or target those addresses with fake offers meant to trick troops into clicking on links that would download malicious programming onto their government computers, Rouillard said.

He was one of 10 witnesses to give evidence as prosecutors continued moving quickly through Manning’s court-martial at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. The former Army intelligence analyst is charged with aiding the enemy. He has acknowledged sending reams of government secrets to WikiLeaks but said he didn’t think it would hurt national security. Manning said he leaked the material in order to expose wrongdoing.

The military judge, Col. Denise Lind, said no more evidence will be presented until June 26. She will hear oral arguments Tuesday on evidentiary issues. The prosecution and defense will spend the next week negotiating written statements to be submitted on behalf of 17 witnesses.

So far, the military judge has heard from more than 50 of the government’s approximately 140 witnesses. Last week’s testimony involved battlefield reports and videos. And still to come is evidence about 250,000 diplomatic cables Manning allegedly stole from a State Department database that WikiLeaks published.

Other testimony Monday included statements by a former official at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who said sensitive documents were released regarding the system there.

Leaked threat assessments about detainees at the prison included personal information the U.S. had gathered on them, as well as information on how they were captured, who they associated with and so on, said Jeffrey Motes, an intelligence analyst at the prison who gave evidence in a written statement Monday. He said the documents included recommendations for handling of the detainees and might have included information the prisoners did not know the U.S. had collected on them.

A former Guantanamo commander, Rear Adm. David Woods, said in a statement the documents also revealed sources of U.S. intelligence and other types of information that “could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security of the United States” if publicly released.

AP writer David Dishneau contributed to this story from Fort Meade.

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