Okay, so in Orwell’s 1984, the powers that be may have switched who the “enemy” was arbitrarily and then rewritten history to argue we were always at war with Eurasia or Eastasia. But, at least there was a defined enemy. In the court martial case against Bradley Manning, for supposedly “aiding the enemy” by releasing State Department cables and other documents to Wikileaks, he’s being charged with aiding a “classified enemy” along with aiding Al-Qaida. We’ve already explained why the aiding the enemy charge is highly dubious, since that charge is normally reserved for directly handing information to an enemy, not leaking it to the press. But the fact that one of “the enemies” is secret is completely messed up, and has legal scholars scratching their heads as well.
Three professors of military law – Yale Law School’s Eugene Fidell, Duke University School of Law’s Scott Silliman and Texas Tech University School of Law’s Richard Rosen – told Courthouse News they had never heard of a case involving a “classified enemy.”
When Courthouse News asked the military to explain how there could be a “classified enemy,” they were told the enemy is not actually classified, but it’s classified that this “known” but unnamed enemy had “classified info” that Manning is accused of leaking. Have fun deciphering this one:
“What ‘is’ classified is that our government has confirmed that this enemy is in receipt of certain compromised classified information, and that the means and methods of collection that the government has employed to make that determination are classified,” the spokeswoman said in an email.
But, that makes no sense. After all, the documents were released publicly. Everyone could have had them. Naming the enemy here wouldn’t compromise how the government “confirmed” that the enemy had the classified info. The whole case, once again, seems to resolve around some highly questionable assertions to try to make this into an “aiding the enemy” case, when it’s clearly nothing of the sort.