Prosecution Rests in Manning’s WikiLeaks Trial
Prosecutors rested their case against Pfc. Bradley Manning on Tuesday after presenting evidence from 80 witnesses, trying to prove the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst let military secrets fall into the hands of al-Qaida and its former leader Osama bin Laden.
The 25-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., is charged with 21 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which carries a possible life sentence. To prove that charge, prosecutors must show Manning gave intelligence to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, knowing it would be published online and seen by an enemy of the United States.
Manning has acknowledged sending more than 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and State Department diplomatic cables, along with several battlefield video clips, to WikiLeaks while working in Baghdad from November 2009 through May 2010.
The defense could begin its case as early as Monday, when the trial will resume. Manning’s defense said at the opening of the trial that he was a young, naive but good-intentioned soldier whose struggle to fit in as a gay man in the military made him feel he "needed to do something to make a difference in this world."
He told a military judge in February he leaked the war logs to document "the true costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," including the deaths of two Reuters employees killed in a U.S. helicopter attack. Manning said the diplomatic cables revealed secret pacts and deceit he thought should be exposed.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Manning, a former intelligence analyst, used military computers in Iraq to download reams of documents and battlefield video from a classified network, transferred some of the material to his personal computer and sent it to WikiLeaks.
The evidence showed Manning’s training repeatedly instructed him not to give classified information to unauthorized people.
As they wrapped up their case, prosecutors presented evidence that al-Qaida leaders reveled in WikiLeaks’ publication of classified U.S. documents, urging members to study them before devising ways to attack the United States.
"By the grace of God the enemy’s interests are today spread all over the place," Adam Gadahn, a spokesman for the terrorist group, said in a 2011 al-Qaida propaganda video. The video specifically referred to material available on the WikiLeaks website.