Prosecutor: Manning used skills to leak government data to Wikileaks

June 3, 2013 at 3:13 PM
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FORT MEADE, Md., June 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning used his training to pluck classified documents from military computers and give them to WikiLeaks, prosecutors said Monday.

Capt. Joe Morrow said Manning "used his military training to gain the notoriety he craved" during the government's opening argument in Manning's court-martial at Fort Meade, Md., The Baltimore Sun reported.

Manning, who served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, has admitted leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. The materials included diplomatic communications, Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and video footage of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed civilians, which Morrow said "has great value to our adversaries and in particular our enemies."

Dressed a dark green Army dress uniform, Manning, 25, 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.

His court-martial before Army Col. Denise R. Lind began with Morrow's opening statement. Manning opted to have Lind hear the case rather than go before a jury.

Manning sat quietly with his lawyers as Morrow spoke. Defense attorney David E. Coombs was scheduled to follow, and then the government was scheduled to begin presenting witnesses.

Defense opening statements and three witnesses also were expected to be heard during Monday's session.

Outside the main gate to Fort Meade Monday morning, a few dozen people supporting Manning held placards that said, among other things, ""Free Brad," the Sun said.

On the base by the media center was parked a white box truck with "WikiLeaks Mobile Information Collection Unit" and "Release Bradley Manning" printed on it.

Before the military trial started, Manning's lawyer thanked supporters.

"On behalf of both myself and Pfc. Manning, I would like to thank everyone for their continued support over the last three years," David Coombs said in his blog Sunday, a day after supporters gathered outside Fort Meade.

"I especially appreciate the tireless fundraising and awareness efforts of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network," Coombs said in one of his few public statements during the case.

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