On May 24, 2013, I reviewed Alex Gibney’s WikiLeaks/Bradley Manning film ‘We Steal Secrets,’ focusing on its portrayal of Pfc. Bradley Manning. Read that review here. Alex Gibney wrote me a letter in response, reprinted in full below:
I read your recent review of “We Steal Secrets: the Story of WikiLeaks.”
I have great respect for the work that you have done and continue to do on behalf of Bradley Manning. With that in mind, let me express my disagreement with a number of your assertions about my film. I do not expect you to share my views, but I would hope that you hear them.
You criticize the filmmaking team for failing to wait for Bradley Manning’s spoken statement to the court. The film was completely finished, including final digital and film elements, in February. However, in light of some revelations in the Manning statement, we were able to make some small changes in the audio track – at great expense and technical difficulty – without changing picture. We had been working on the film for more than two years and made a decision to bring it to a conclusion. We did so, not because the story was finished (we fully expect you and others to continue to follow and tell the story) but because we felt that – with Assange and Manning both in very different kinds of custody – we could conclude a chapter.
Our film focuses on events in 2010 and 2011. In that context, Bradley Manning’s on-line chats are more relevant than his very moving speech to the court. I also felt that showing the on-line chats as printed text was important to the character of this story. Those chats reveal Manning’s views in the moment rather than as a carefully considered speech looking back on events with the benefit of hindsight. Yet, I would also note – as Glenn Greenwald has done – that Manning’s speech is remarkably consistent with the Lamo chats, both for his personal concerns and for his political convictions.
To that point, Nathan, I must take issue with your characterization of the film. You imply that, with one exception, the film does not include any mention of Manning’s political convictions. That just isn’t true. There is a great deal about Manning’s motivations as a whistleblower in the film, not only from his chats but also from materials he appended to the original leak of the war logs.
Here are two short examples. 1) “This is possibly one of the most significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.” 2) “I want people to see the truth…regardless of who they are. Because without that information you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”
You link to the “annotated transcript” released by WikiLeaks. But you do not note that this so-called “transcript” contains a multitude of errors. In addition to including words that aren’t in the film, the “transcript” actually omits every single one of Manning’s words as they appeared on-screen. One is left to conclude that this “transcript” has either been maliciously edited to make it look like we omitted Manning, or so sloppily done that it just left his words out. That, in itself, is a kind of cruel poetry: WikiLeaks has written Bradley Manning out of the story.
I also disagree with the way that your review omitted the full context of Manning’s speech to the court. In a forthright way, he does discuss his alienation from those around him. He uses the following phrases: “I lacked close personal ties…” ;“concerns of social labeling”; his roomate’s “discomfort with my sexual orientation”; “immense pressures and anxiety built up throughout the deployment.” And this key sentence: “It seems that as I tried harder to fit in at work, the more I seemed to alienate my peers and lose the respect, trust, and support I needed.” Does that sound like someone who was carefree? You imply that Manning was not “alienated” prior to his leaks, only after. Manning’s own speech to the court belies that view.
I disagree with your contention (raised initially by one of Assange’s legal team) that the film tries to “pathologize Manning’s leaks.” The film does not embrace the army’s view that Manning leaked because of some character flaw; it clearly shows his political motivations. But neither does the film ignore Manning’s emotional distress. Why should we ignore issues that Manning himself went to such great lengths to express?
The film does not make any general statement about “the way that whistleblowers behave.” But it does suggest – via Manning’s own words – that he was alienated from those around him. Why should that be controversial? If Manning was perfectly in tune with the culture around him, he never would have leaked the materials. After all, he broke a military oath when he did what he did. Indeed, he has pleaded guilty to breaking that oath and is willing to be held to account for violating military law.
I accept that, for Manning, questioning his own gender was a serious matter. I accept that his difficulty with being gay in the military during a time of “don’t ask don’t tell” was of great personal concern. I don’t see any value in censoring that part of Manning’s life just because for some (but not for me) those deep personal concerns may interfere with a more air-brushed narrative about his role as a political actor.
In your review, you suggest that Manning’s supervisor, Jihrleah Showman, should not have been included in the film because she is a witness for the prosecution in Manning’s military trial. Sorry, but I’m not going to apologize for including people who were intimately involved in the story. Further, for a film that attempts to do more than preach to the choir, how would the film be received by those who cannot decide what to think of Manning if I did not include any critical voices? I think that Bradley Manning would agree that the truth – no matter how inconvenient – is the most important thing. That truth cannot be glimpsed if we avert our eyes from those with whom we might disagree.
I don’t have any issue with the fact that Manning is gay. I don’t have any issue with the fact that he wanted to become a woman. Why should anyone? However, at a time when Manning is being scapegoated by the military, I do think it’s important to note that the military bears some responsibility for the leak, both for the sloppy way classified material is managed and for the failure, by the chain of command, to take note of Manning’s emotional outbursts. My political science professor advised me to “embrace the contradictions of everyday life.” So, in the case of Manning, one can applaud the value of the leaks and still find fault with the military for ignoring the system and individuals that permitted them. Now that Manning is about to go on trial for “aiding the enemy” should we not hold the military to account for some of what he did? Or would you prefer that Manning be seen in isolation – and therefore greater legal jeopardy – from the system of which he was a part?
Your review also leaves out an important mystery at the heart of the story: why – if the WikiLeaks electronic dropbox was such a perfect mechanism for anonymous leaking – did Bradley Manning reach out to Adrian Lamo? It seems clear that Manning needed someone to talk to. And he needed to talk, not only about the leaks but about his personal pain and, yes, alienation, as a gay man wanting to be a woman in a time of “don’t ask don’t tell.”
This is a vital issue as we confront how leaks may happen in the future. One flaw of the WikiLeaks model (important in other ways) may be that it does not allow for needed personal communication between a source and a journalist/publisher. I know from personal experience that whistleblowers sometimes need someone to talk to. (Why should that be controversial or a sign of weakness instead of a show of humanity?) We now know from Manning that he felt let down by the on-line character of “Nathaniel Frank” (the person at WikiLeaks that Manning believed to be Julian Assange) because the conversations between them “were more valued by myself [Manning] than Nathaniel.” When “Nathaniel” was no longer available to talk to (possibly because WikiLeaks now had the State Department cables in its possession) Manning turned to Lamo, who then turned him in.
The larger point that the film is making is that Manning is a hero precisely because he is not an abstract symbol. He is a unique, flawed and ultimately inspiring individual who can be celebrated for who he is, not altered and re-imagined in order to score easy political points or to soothe the discomfort that some seem to feel toward Manning’s emotional turmoil.
Going forward, it will be important that whistleblowers do not have to believe that they must be extraordinary or perfect heroes. They can be what the social psychologist Phil Zimbardo calls “everyday heroes.” They can and should be anybody.
Let us reckon with Bradley Manning as an individual and all that he did.
And let us all support him – every bit of him – as he faces a furious government determined to convict him of a capital offense for trying to make the world a better place.
Attached, please find a relevant excerpt from Bradley Manning’s statement to the court:
As the communications transferred from IRC to the Jabber client, I gave ‘office’ and later ‘pressassociation’ the name of Nathaniel Frank in my address book, after the author of a book I read in 2009.
After a period of time, I developed what I felt was a friendly relationship with Nathaniel. Our mutual interest in information technology and politics made our conversations enjoyable. We engaged in conversation often. Sometimes as long as an hour or more. I often looked forward to my conversations with Nathaniel after work.
The anonymity that was provided by TOR and the Jabber client and the WLO’s policy allowed me to feel I could just be myself, free of the concerns of social labeling and perceptions that are often placed upon me in real life. In real life, I lacked a closed friendship with the people I worked with in my section, the S2 section.
In my section, the S2 section and supported battalions and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team as a whole. For instance, I lacked close ties with my roommate to his discomfort regarding my perceived sexual orientation. Over the next few months, I stayed in frequent contact with Nathaniel. We conversed on nearly a daily basis and I felt that we were developing a friendship.
Conversations covered many topics and I enjoyed the ability to talk about pretty much anything, and not just the publications that the WLO was working on. In retrospect I realize that that these dynamics were artificial and were valued more by myself than Nathaniel. For me these conversations represented an opportunity to escape from the immense pressures and anxiety that I experienced and built up through out the deployment. It seems that as I tried harder to fit in at work, the more I seemed to alienate my peers and lose the respect, trust, and support I needed.
This review was first posted here on May 24, 2013.
Alex Gibney’s “We Steal Secrets” chronicles WikiLeaks’ front-page, world-shocking 2010 leaks from inception to publication to aftermath, framing WikiLeaks’ work as a meteoric rise giving way to a self-incurred implosion.
While I find fault with this view, and even its premise that WikiLeaks has failed and died (the site continues to publish Stratfor emails and Kissinger files, it just won an important Icelandic victory to resume accepting donations through Visa interlocutors, and the Freedom of the Press foundation continues to funnel anonymous contributions its way), I’d rather let others dissect its portrayal of Assange and WikiLeaks and instead focus on how it characterizes Bradley Manning. (Read WikiLeaks’ annotated copy of the film’s script here.)
Earlier this year, we took issue with some of director Alex Gibney’s comments associating whistleblowing with alienation, pathologizing Manning’s leaks and undermining his political values. Producer Sam Black emailed to assure us that, in fact, Bradley Manning is “a hero in the film. He is the moral and emotional center of a complex story about what should and should not be secret.”
Though the movie does laudably transition away from its opening focus on Julian Assange by reminding viewers that Manning is the courageous whistleblower who deserves at least as much public attention, Manning’s story only makes it into about a quarter of the two-hour film, which quotes journalists, former WikiLeaks members, high-ranking government officials, and fellow soldiers.
The time that is spent on Manning leaves much to be desired, and what it leaves out is as much to blame as what it includes. Ultimately, the resulting portrait of Bradley Manning is one of pity more than empathy, one that makes us feel bad for Manning rather than take a serious interest in his beliefs and his plight.
Near the end of the film, journalist James Ball says, “Whistleblowing is an isolating act,” because it forces one to make public things that your peers and friends want to keep secret. But the film’s portrayal reverses that succession, seeming to imply that whistleblowing follows from alienation, not the other way around.
The filmmakers could have avoided this pat and familiar narrative with mere patience: a few short months after production was finished, PFC Bradley Manning provided the most salient, film-ready testimony a director could want – his 10,000-word statement explaining his Army work and decision to release documents to WikiLeaks.
In that statement, Manning passionately articulates his reasoning:
I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year. The [war logs] documented this in great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.
He shines light on his mindset at the time and his political convictions:
I felt this sense of relief by [WikiLeaks] having [the information]. I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and what I had read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan everyday.
He vividly conveys his revulsion:
The most alarming aspect of the video to me…was the seemly delightful bloodlust the Aerial Weapons Team seemed to have. They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life, and referred to them as quote-unquote “dead bastards,” and congratulated each other on their ability to kill in large numbers….For me, this seemed similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.
Gibney couldn’t have necessarily known that such a statement was coming. But he would’ve been given this windfall of valuable audio had he not worked to release the film so early. The film is slated to premiere today. Bradley Manning’s trial will begin on June 3, in just over a week. If this were a civilian case, would the release of a major film about its defendant just days before his trial began appear unreasonable? Is Gibney trying too hard to get the story out there just in time for Manning to make the news again?
With the leaked audio published by the Freedom of the Press foundation, Gibney could have used those words above to take a holistic view of Manning while giving real credence to his political motivations. Instead, he relied on fellow soldiers’ memories and the infamous chat logs with Adrian Lamo.
Gibney did make some good use of those chat logs, highlighting a major turning point for Manning in the Army that many forget or minimize: his refusal to be complicit in the detention of innocuous Iraqi dissidents that he knew would be tortured and possibly killed. But beyond this incident, Gibney left us wanting for Manning’s observations and motivations. Why not include his comments on the first world exploiting the third, on almost criminal backroom deals?
The film simply focuses too much on Manning’s personality, and since it relies heavily on Adrian Lamo’s reflections and Manning’s fellow soldiers’ recollections, the remaining portrait is that of a gender-confused weirdo prone to outbursts. It affords extensive time to Jihrleah Showman, a government witness in Bradley’s Article 32 hearing in December 2011, to recount Manning’s emotional flare-ups, and at one point during her interview, Gibney leaves an unflattering photo of Manning up for 10 seconds. Is this really getting to the heart of what Manning’s case and struggle are about?
Gibney isn’t necessarily malicious: he doesn’t really blame Manning for his behavior, implying rather that he probably shouldn’t have been deployed to Iraq in the first place. The view is not one of scorn, but one of pity. In so doing, Gibney subtly removes Manning’s agency, characterizing him more as honorable victim than brave whistleblower.
In one portion, Gibney wonders why Manning’s chain of command wasn’t reprimanded further for allowing him to release these classified documents so easily. Why not take them to equal task for telling him to shut up when he brought Iraqi corruption to their attention? Why not take the government to further task for failing to prosecute the criminals that Manning exposed? Gibney only hints at these questions where a deeper exploration is desperately needed.
The problem isn’t that ‘We Steal Secrets’ fails to cheerlead for Bradley Manning’s every move. It’s that it conflates nuance with the government’s emphasis on personal issues over political convictions.
Sitting behind Bradley in the courtroom for a year and a half, it’s obvious that he’s not interested in our pity, but certainly needs our support.
[Update: Alex Gibney responds to my review here.]
By Russell Fuller
The United States cannot win its war on Bradley Manning. Though it sent a somewhat fragile young man off to war in Iraq, it produced instead a committed humanitarian; though it has caged him without trial for three years, one of them in torturous solitary confinement, it produced instead a fine, free spirit; though it brings its full weight to bear on a man who stands but five-foot two and tips the scales at one hundred and five pounds, it simply steeled his spine; though it restricts public access to pre-trial hearings and, in contradistinction to the First Amendment, threatens the meager group of gathered journalists and witnesses by stating today that access is not a right but a privilege, it produces instead a hunger for truth.
This last suppression of our First Amendment rights was the government’s response to the leak of Manning’s clean, clear voice as he read his statement of actions and intentions, his hopes that the documents he released would stir debate about our government’s actions on behalf of we the people. The Commander in Chief for whom I voted does not want citizens to hear this solitary voice for truth and real justice because regardless of the punishment the court eventually imposes on Manning (and anything other than release for time served would be an outrage), the United States fears Bradley Manning.
The Real leak, the Big secret that’s been exposed and cannot be redacted, is that Goliath fears this David. And because that’s been revealed at Fort Meade to the witnesses gathered there and the rest of us who are paying attention, the United States has already lost this war too.
For the last three weeks in Ft. Meade, MD, Bradley Manning has had a pretrial motion hearing to seek accountability for the abusive treatment he endured at the Quantico Marine brig in Virginia, from July 29, 2010, to April 20, 2011. Manning was on Prevention of Injury watch (POI) or Suicide Watch his entire time in the brig, isolated in a 6×8 ft cell for 23 hours a day. For the first six months, he got only 20 minutes of sunshine a day. For the last month and a half, he had to surrender his underwear at night. For his entire time there, he was monitored around the clock, he had to ask for toilet paper and soap, and he had to wear metal shackles any time he left his cell. There weren’t detainees next to his cell, and when he left his cell the brig went in lockdown, so he was effectively barred from speaking to other inmates. And the military used his poor communication to justify his treatment.
About a dozen Quantico officials testified for several hours each to explain that Manning’s conditions were in his own interest: most said they thought he was going to kill himself because he made two nooses in prison in Kuwait — when he was left in a cage and no explained what was happening to him, he broke down. Yet Manning hasn’t hurt himself once at Ft. Leavenworth. Others said that because of the national security implications of Manning’s charges, and the fact that other detainees were “very patriotic,” that Manning was in danger of being attacked — they couldn’t explain, however, why he wasn’t put in protective custody (which has many fewer restrictions), or why he hasn’t been attacked while in medium security for a year and a half in Ft. Leavenworth.
This is painfully counterproductive. As professor Craig Haney — who defense lawyer David Coombs cited in court — told Congress:
Prisoners in long-term solitary confinement suffer psychological breakdowns from the lack of human contact that can lead to psychosis, mutilations, and suicide…
The military wouldn’t concede that Manning was held in solitary confinement. But in the portion Coombs quoted, Haney explains how prison officials use different terms to conceal these conditions:
I should acknowledge that the term “solitary confinement” is a term of art in corrections. Solitary or isolated confinement goes by a variety of names in U.S. prisons—Security Housing, Administrative Segregation, Close Management, High Security, Closed Cell Restriction, and so on. But the units all have in common the fact that the prisoners who are housed inside them are confined on average 23 hours a day in typically windowless or nearly windowless cells that commonly range in dimension from 60 to 80 square feet. The ones on the smaller side of this range are roughly the size of a king-sized bed, one that contains a bunk, a toilet and sink, and all of the prisoner’s worldly possessions. Thus, prisoners in solitary confinement sleep, eat, and defecate in their cells, in spaces that are no more than a few feet apart from one another…
Manning didn’t even get these “worldly possessions.” No matter what the military wants to call it, Manning was in solitary confinement.
The defense is moving to dismiss all charges based on this abusive treatment, based on the Article 13 prohibition against pretrial punishment. As an alternative, if the judge won’t through out the case, the defense requests at least 10-for-1 sentencing credit for the time Manning was in these conditions. Judge Lind is reviewing testimony and will probably rule in a few weeks. We return to court January 8-11, 2013.
There’s much more to unpack in each report, and I’d like to expound on how the chain of command ensured Manning never got out of solitary, but here for now are my summaries from the courtroom:
Playlist: 2 songs from each. Links below go to full albums.
Hot Chip // In Our Heads
Kendrick Lamar // Good Kid M.A.A.D. City
Beach House // Bloom
Pet Shop Boys // Elysium
Grizzly Bear // Shields
The Shins // Port of Morrow
Frank Ocean // channel ORANGE
David Byrne & St. Vincent // Love this Giant
The Magnetic Fields // Love at the Bottom of the Sea
Grimes // Visions
Or, the National Insecurity State
It’s no secret that the powerful in America are frequently immune to prosecution for committing far worse crimes than those by the powerless. Bush administration torturers are on book tours while torture whistleblowers are on trial. Wall Street executives are counting their bonuses while foreclosed homeowners are packing their bags. Life’s not fair.
That’s one reason why it was so startling to see Gen. David Petraeus resign upon learning the FBI had discovered his extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell. Surely, the director of the accountability-free, drone-happy CIA could sleep around as he pleased and not fear a fellow government agency would rat him out, right?
Ah, the unexpected pleasures of the ever-growing security state. It turns out the FBI found out that Petraeus shared more than a bed with Broadwell — likely his emails, rife with classified information, too, though he claims that Broadwell got the information from officials in Afghanistan. And this administration hates nothing more than the unintended release of classified information: despite anonymously leaking favorable-but-Top Secret information to The New York Times on a weekly basis, the Obama administration has tried to use the Espionage Act to convict whistleblowers more often than all previous administrations combined.
But not so fast. Gen. Petraeus is still their man, with a reputation to uphold. So when President Obama was asked about the potential security breach, he said, “I have no evidence at this point, from what I’ve seen, that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security.”
The statement is crafted to appear interested in the good of national security, to appear to put America’s safety first. But the subtext says much more: There may have been a classified disclosure that didn’t impact national security at all, or that did so positively, but that isn’t a problem.
These comments directly contradict government arguments in a much bigger ongoing investigation: that of WikiLeaks and Pfc. Bradley Manning. Cutting off Manning’s ability to argue that he was a whistleblower, who knew that the information WikiLeaks released wouldn’t bring harm to national security but instead would properly inform the American citizenry, the government prosecution has fully precluded discussion of whether or not WikiLeaks’ releases brought harm to national security from the trial. Even conceding that WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of documents may not have harmed national security, the government says the effect is irrelevant to Manning’s guilt or innocence.
But Gen. Petraeus — or any of the other high-ranking officials who leak Top Secret information, a classification level higher than anything Pfc. Manning is accused of releasing — will not be held to this standard.
This is the chilling effect on whistleblowing: share classified information with a biographer selling books by glorifying your war-making, and your president assures the press that you’ve caused no harm; share crimes, uncounted civilian casualties, and corporate backroom dealing with your fellow taxpaying citizens, and you face a potential life sentence in prison, not to mention nine months of confinement abuse, an extensively delayed trial, and your president’s declaring you guilty before trial.
Time and again, Bradley Manning is stepped on so the military can discipline dissent and discourage those he might inspire. Meanwhile, the prurient press is more curious about Petraeus’s sex life than the growing security state and the whistleblowers trying in vain to stop it before it consumes us all. We cannot afford to abide this double standard any longer.
[This post was first published at BradleyManning.org -- view it there.]
The CCR argued its case at the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces today for transparency in Bradley Manning’s court-martial trial. Judges questioned why the government forced the issue to come to court at all, instead of simply making the documents public.
By Nathan Fuller. October 10, 2012.
During oral arguments in the Center for Constitutional Rights’ lawsuit against the government seeking public access to basic court documents in Bradley Manning’s court-martial trial, judges for the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces demanded the government explain why it wouldn’t simply provide these documents in the first place.
When Army lawyer Capt. Chad Fisher said that the court wasn’t constitutionally required to provide public access to documents like prosecution briefs, transcripts, and rulings, Judge Margaret Ryan interrupted him to ask what she called a “common sense” question.
“Why can’t you just give it to them? Instead of making this a constitutional case, why can’t you just be reasonable?”
Fisher was unable to directly answer the question. Instead, he gave an array of responses that circumvented the basic issue: he repeated his belief that the court wasn’t obliged to make these records public, he said the fact that the public could attend the hearings meant they were “open,” he complained that the defense wasn’t asking the proper authority, and he reiterated the government’s position that the availability of FOIA provided sufficient public and press access.
The five judges repeatedly questioned and challenged each of Fisher’s points, particularly the idea that FOIA requests, to which the government frequently takes weeks, months, or even years to respond, provided sufficient and contemporaneous access, especially considering the fact that FOIA requests in this case have already been denied. They also pushed back on Fisher’s claim that “Nothing has been withheld” from the public and the press, based on the idea that attending the hearings amounts to fully accessing the proceedings.
“How is oral argument sufficient if you can’t read the briefs?” one judge asked.
“It’s not as if they’re speaking a foreign language,” Fisher responded.
But as journalists from the 30 major media outlets who submitted a supportive brief in this case explained, the media (and therefore the public) needs these documents to adequately cover the case:
“Journalists rely heavily on court documents to gain and provide to readers the background of and context surrounding a legal controversy — awareness and understanding of which is often necessary to accurately report on the dispute. Prior access to the materials also allows reporters, the overwhelming majority of whom have no legal background or education, to process the oftentimes complex legal theories at their own pace, or to interview a legal expert who could explain the issues, so they are better equipped to understand what is transpiring in a proceeding they attend.”
Shayana Kadidal, the CCR lawyer arguing in court today, similarly contended earlier this year that providing openness-in-name-only effectively “choked off” coverage of Manning’s hearings.
But the judges, not seemingly satisfied with Fisher’s responses, kept returning to the more elemental point that the government could avoid this litigation and a potential ruling that would affect courts-martial to come by simply turning over the documents requested. The court already has a process in place to redact documents, the judges noted, and parties settle extrajudicial matters with a compromise out of court all the time, so it seems perfectly feasible for the government to comply with the CCR’s reasonable request for access to the documents.
In the midst of this questioning, Fisher did concede what the CCR has long observed: that Guantanamo tribunals – hardly beacons of transparency – were less secretive than Bradley Manning’s court-martial, because the public could access filed briefs and transcripts to those proceedings.
The CCR’s Kadidal fielded a similar though not quite as lengthy barrage of questioning from the appeals court judges. The first issue they raised was whether this court even has jurisdiction to make a ruling on this case, as their jurisdiction has been narrowly limited and it isn’t clear that they have standing to make a ruling that affects the press and public alike. Kadidal responded that the government hadn’t raised this issue in their replies, and so he would need an additional 10 days to file a supplement that addresses the court’s jurisdiction.
Judge Ryan also wanted to know whether there was precedent for this court to compel the production of documents that didn’t yet exist. She was referring to the CCR’s request for transcripts of RCM 802 conferences, the private telephonic meetings Judge Denise Lind holds between Ft. Meade hearings with both the defense and the prosecution. She also wanted Kadidal to account for how exactly the documents would hypothetically be produced: who would transcribe the hearings, or who would pay a stenographer?
Kadidal responded that an audio file would be acceptable, but on the issue more generally, he said he believes the court should make a First Amendment ruling granting the press the right to these documents and let lower courts adjudicate the logistics. Judges replied that it was unclear that the First Amendment affords contemporaneous access to these documents: in other words, it might be wholly constitutional for the court to provide these documents after the fact.
Kadidal will submit his jurisdictional supplement in 10 days, and the government will submit a reply less than a week later. It’s unclear when or if this court will issue a ruling, or when exactly the parties might return to court. We’ll update our coverage of this case as it unfolds.