The suggestion the president made was caught on camera during an impromptu and casual conversation regarding the Army private suspected of giving classified information to WikiLeaks.
While it is difficult to make out all of what the president had to say in a clip of the remarks, he can be heard suggesting there's a difference between the situation with Manning and that of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. (Forbes provides a rough transcript of the comments.) Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the secret information on the conflict, has defended Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The AP notes, "Ellsberg was charged with espionage, but the case was thrown out amid disclosure of extensive government misconduct against Ellsberg."
HuffPost's Jen Bendery reported on Thursday:
Attendees at a high-ticket fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee on Thursday burst into song in the middle of a speech by President Barack Obama, protesting the government's treatment of alleged Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning.
Obama was delivering remarks at San Francisco's St. Regis Hotel to a crowd of about 200 donors--some of whom paid $35,800 each to attend--when a woman in a white suit stood up and said, "Mr. President, we wrote you a song," according to White House pool reports.
The ten singers passed around signs that said "Free Bradley Manning," and the woman in the white suit took off her jacket to reveal a t-shirt emblazoned with the same message. She was ultimately escorted out of the event, and two others left on their own. The rest stayed and applauded at the end of Obama's speech. The woman can be seen here.
Earlier this week, the AP reported that Manning is being moved from being held at the Marine Corps base at Quantico to a new detention facility at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's top lawyer, said the move does not suggest that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning's treatment at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., was inappropriate.
But the transfer, which Johnson described as "imminent", comes in the wake of international criticism about Manning's treatment during his detention at the Marine Corps base at Quantico. And the conditions of Manning's detention have been the focus of repeated protests from human rights groups and lawmakers.
A former intelligence analyst, Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, including Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, confidential State Department cables and a classified military video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Iraq that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver.
Last month, the president signaled he believes the conditions in which Manning is being held are "appropriate and meeting our basic standards."
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