In 2007, a U.S. helicopter opened fire on what the crew thought to be Iraqi insurgents. In the days following the incident it was discovered that the targets were, in fact, civilians; two international journalists were among those killed. In February of this year gripping video of the attack was posted on the website WikiLeaks.org, causing the U.S. Military to issue a statement of regret and initiate a vigorous effort to identify the source of the leaks. An April, 2010 New York Times article details these events.
Now, the soldier who allegedly posted the video, Army Private (PFC) Bradley Manning, is a key suspect in a series of intelligence leaks, now termed the “Afghan War Diary,” involving nearly 100,000 classified documents on the war effort in Afghanistan. How does this national case relate to RWU Law? The lawyer for PFC Manning is David Coombs, an Adjunct Professor at RWU Law.
Professor Coombs was recently interviewed for CNN’s television show The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, where he discussed the WikiLeaks case. In the interview, Professor Coombs is asked how he feels about Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen’s statements that the person who leaked these documents “might already have on their hands, the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.” Coombs responds by calling the statement “highly charged rhetoric” and saying that there is, “nothing new or illuminating in these diaries.”