Rally for Bradley Manning
Obama spokesman denies Obama expressed the view he expressed
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor denies that US President Obama was "expressing a view as to the guilt or innocence of Pfc. Manning specifically" when he said, regarding Bradley Manning, "He broke the law."
Regarding Obama's further statement that he has to abide by the laws as well as Manning, Steven Aftergood, a classified information expert at the Federation of American Scientists, agreed with the point made earlier by WL Central, “There are rules and procedures governing the de-classification process, but those rules also are based in presidential authority. The president has supreme authority over what is classified.”
While the White House is playing down the significance of the president's statement, Manning supporters are not. UK Friends of Bradley Manning writes: It is not surprising that the White House is keen to play down this incident. Military case law indicates that “pretrial publicity itself may constitute unlawful command influence” (United States v. Simpson, 58 MJ 368) and, if this is raised at court martial, the US Government will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the case has not been prejudiced. (United States v. Reed, 65 M.J. 487) Should unlawful command influence be proven, incidentally, then dismissal of the case is possible “as a last resort.” (United States v. Douglas, 68 M.J. 349)