FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — The State Department’s former computer chief testified Friday that it wasn’t her fault that 250,000 diplomatic cables were stolen and leaked by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Susan Swart, now chief information officer for the International Monetary Fund, testified at the soldier’s sentencing hearing. Manning faces up to 136 years in prison for giving the cables, plus 470,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and some warzone video, to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2010.
Manning’s top-secret security clearance gave him access to a classified government computer network that included the cables. Swart said she had no qualms about putting the cables on the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network.
“I believed that the intent of the system was correct — If you’re on a system and you’re cleared to handle classified information, that you’re going to handle it appropriately,” she said.
Swart said on cross-examination that no one in the department suggested she was responsible for the security breach.
“I didn’t feel blamed,” she said.
She said that after WikiLeaks began publishing the leaked cables, the State Department quickly responded by moving such material to a more restricted network, the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, where users had to justify their desire to read the cables.
“After the WikiLeaks incident, you couldn’t just believe it’s a trusted individual,” she said.
Manning, a 25-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., was convicted Tuesday of 20 of 22 counts, including Espionage Act violations, theft and computer fraud. He was acquitted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy.
Manning has said he leaked the material to expose wrongdoing by the military and U.S. diplomats.