Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks source, fights subpoena seeking grand jury testimony
WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning on Friday challenged a subpoena compelling her appearance before a federal grand jury convened in Alexandria, Virginia.
Attorneys representing Ms. Manning, a 31-year-old activist and former soldier, filed a motion to quash opposing a subpoena seeking her participation in unspecified grand jury proceedings scheduled next Tuesday, March 5, according to “Chelsea Resists,” a committee launched by her supporters.
The motion was filed with Judge Claude Hilton in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and ordered sealed pending further proceedings, the committee said.
Joshua Steuve, a spokesperson for federal prosecutors in Alexandria, declined to comment.
Both the existence of the subpoena and Ms. Manning’s objections were first reported by The New York Times late Thursday evening.
“Given what is going on, I am opposing this,” Ms. Manning told the newspaper. “I want to be very forthright I have been subpoenaed. I don’t know the parameters of the subpoena apart from that I am expected to appear. I don’t know what I’m going to be asked.”
Despite the subpoena lacking specifics, Ms. Manning is presumably wanted for questioning about WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization she admittedly supplied with a trove of classified U.S. diplomatic and military files obtained while deployed in Iraq as an Army intelligence analyst. It requests her appearance at the same federal courthouse where the government previously questioned witnesses about WikiLeaks, and where prosecutors indicated months ago the existence of a sealed case charging Julian Assage, the website Australian-born publisher.
The Justice Department acknowledged in 2010 that the government was investigating WikiLeaks following its publication of material provided by Manning, including State Department cables and Pentagon documents detailing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other files.
Manning was convicted by an Army judge in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in military prison, but was released in 2017 after the majority of her punishment was commuted by former President Barack Obama during his last days in office. Prosecutors have refused to confirm or deny whether the government is gunning for Mr. Assange, notwithstanding evidence suggesting he has already in legal hot water, however.
“Assange has been charged,” prosecutors in Alexandria wrote in a filing entered for an unrelated case in August. “The complaint, supporting affidavit, and arrest warrant, as well as this motion and the proposed order, would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” the filing said.
The Justice Department said the filing referencing charges against Mr. Assange was entered by “mistake.”
A nonprofit group, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, pounced on the error and sued seeking an order compelling the government to disclose details about any otherwise sealed charges against the WikiLeaks publisher prior to ultimately losing that case earlier this year.