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1 charge dropped as government rests case against leaker Manning

July 3, 2013 at 8:39 AM   |   Comments

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FORT MEADE, Md., July 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. government ended its case against Pfc. Bradley Manning by dropping a charge that his disclosures to Wikileaks aided a "classified" enemy.

Before dropping the charge during Tuesday's court-martial session at Fort Meade, Md., prosecutors had accused Manning of "aiding the enemy," specifically al-Qaida, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and a "classified enemy" by leaking more than 700,000 files to the anti-secrets website, including diplomatic cables, incident reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a video of an airstrike in Baghdad, Courthouse News Service reported.

A military spokeswoman said the "classified" enemy concept referred to "the means and methods of collection that the government has employed to" determine that its "enemy is in receipt of certain compromised classified information."

As the government rested its case Tuesday, however, Maj. Ashden Fein told the court of the plan to drop the classified enemy charge.

"The United States has not presented nor does it intend to present, since the government rested, the evidence that was offered during the bill of particulars of a classified enemy," the lead prosecutor said.

The 25-year-old Manning faces 22 charges, including a military charge of aiding the enemy. He is separately charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act, created to try spies and traitors. The massive dump of sensitive documents was the largest in U.S. history.

Fein's announcement came after a nearly three-hour classified session with the government's final witness, Daniel Lewis, a counter-intelligence and counter-espionage agent with the Defense Intelligence Agency, whose credentials were challenged by the defense.

The court is in recess for the July 4 holiday until Monday. Manning's lawyers are expected to seek dismissal of the charges before beginning their case, CNS said.

Months before his trial, Manning acknowledged he uploaded the files, saying he wanted to provoke a global conversation about the way the United States conducts war and diplomacy.

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