Monday 18 December 2017

Manning 'did not reveal disloyalty'

Bradley Manning has already pleaded guilty to sending material to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks
Bradley Manning has already pleaded guilty to sending material to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks
Military police stand guard outside a court in Fort Meade on the first day of Bradley Manning's court martial (AP)
A woman speaks with a military police officer outside of a court in Fort Meade (AP)

A one-time computer hacker who told authorities that a US soldier was giving information to WikiLeaks has testified that the Army private never said he wanted to help the enemy during their online chats.

Bradley Manning is on trial for giving hundreds of thousands of documents to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks - by far the biggest release of classified material in US history.

He pleaded guilty to charges that could bring 20 years behind bars, but the military has pressed ahead with a court-martial on more serious charges, including aiding the enemy. That charge carries a potential life sentence.

The material WikiLeaks began publishing in 2010 documented complaints of abuse against Iraqi detainees, a US tally of civilian deaths in Iraq, and America's weak support for the government of Tunisia - a disclosure that Manning supporters said helped trigger the Middle Eastern pro-democracy uprisings known as the Arab Spring.

The Obama administration has said the release of the material threatened to expose valuable military and diplomatic sources and strained America's relations with other governments.

Adrian Lamo, a convicted hacker, said he started chatting online with Manning on May 20, 2010, and alerted law enforcement the next day about the contents of the soldier's messages, including his mention of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He said he continued chatting with Manning on and off for six more days.

On cross-examination, Mr Lamo said Manning never told him he wanted to help the enemy and did not express disloyalty to America.

"At any time, did PFC Manning ever say he wanted to help the enemy?" defence lawyer David Coombs asked.

"Not in those words, no," Mr Lamo said.

Prosecutors have said they will show the 25-year-old Army intelligence analyst effectively put US military secrets into the hands of the enemy, including Osama bin Laden. They said they will present evidence that bin Laden requested and obtained from another al Qaida member the Afghanistan battlefield reports and State Department cables published by WikiLeaks. Manning has said he did not believe the information would harm the US and he released the information to enlighten the public about the bitter reality of America's wars.

Press Association

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