Our So Called Press Turned Down Bradley Manning’s Leaks

I am so not shocked.

Bradley Manning just pled guilty on ten counts of misusing classified information, for his release of documents to Wikileaks, though he continues to maintain that he was not aiding the enemy.

What is most interesting that in his statement, Manning said that he want to the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico, and was blown off:

While he was on leave from Iraq and staying in the Washington area in January 2010 he contacted the Washington Post and asked would it be interested in receiving information that he said would be “enormously important to the American people”. He spoke to a woman who said she was a reporter but “she didn’t seem to take me seriously”.

The woman said, according to Manning’s account, that the paper would only be interested subject to vetting by senior editors.

Despairing of that route, Manning turned to the New York Times. He called the public editor of the paper but only got voicemail.

He then tried other numbers on the paper but also got put through to voicemail, and though he left a message with his Skype contact details, nobody called him back. Manning added he had also contemplated going to the website Politico, but harsh weather prevented him.

What’s more, there is an allegation that The Washington Post had, and sat on, the collateral murder video:

But the WikiLeaks Twitter account (and by the way, mark me down as saying it’s a safe bet that Julian Assange is its primary scribe) also let loose this officious-looking tweet earlier today:

Statement: Washington Post had Collateral murder video for over a year but DID NOT RELEASE IT it to the public.

Curious. I asked Kris Coratti, the Washington Post’s communications director, what was up. She emailed me this flat denial:

The Washington Post did not have the video, nor did we sit on anything.

There is a wrinkle to this tale. David Finkel, a Washington Post reporter, did elaborately describe the events of the day partially captured by the video in “Good Soldiers,” his book published in September 2009, based on his time embedded with an infantry battalion on the ground near the shootings. (WikiLeaks published its version of the video in April 2010.)

So a few years before Wikileaks got it, Finkle was writing descriptions which clearly imply that he had seen the video.

Finkle’s defense is that whatever he had, was just for his book, not the paper:

Finkel gave me a call this morning, ready to add a bit more context.

“The idea that The Washington Post possessed something, or sat on something, is just absurd,” said Finkel.

“I was primarily there as a book author. I was on book leave from The Washington Post,” Finkel told me. “I’m not trying to be oblique here, but that was my role there.”

So, the guy who was, and is, employed the The Washington Post, makes what sounds like direct quotes from the videos, was somehow in Iraq on his own ticket, and had nothing to do with the paper when he saw the videos.

Yeah, right.

For the Times and Politico, it’s pretty clear that Manning did a half-assed job of contacting them, but it’s also pretty clear that WaPo knew of the video for years before it showed up on Wikileaks.

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