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Bradley Manning Trial Begins

Jeremy Fuster |
June 3, 2013 | 3:39 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Supporters of Bradley Manning march outside of Fort Meade, where Manning's court martial is being held. (savebradley/Creative Commons)
Supporters of Bradley Manning march outside of Fort Meade, where Manning's court martial is being held. (savebradley/Creative Commons)
The court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning began on Monday at Fort Meade in Maryland, as prosecutors accused the 25-year-old defendant of aiding enemies of the United States by committing the largest leak of classified information in American history. The defense described Manning's actions as that of a "naive but good-intentioned" individual. 


In February, Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges he faced, admitting that he provided military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, a website that publishes secret government and business information through anonymous sources. Manning said at his arraignment that he passed on information that he felt showed the reality of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but nothing that he felt would harm the United States.


This rationale was repeated Monday by Manning's defense lawyer, David Coombs, who said that Manning was selective in what documents he leaked.


"“He had access to literally hundreds of millions of documents as an all-source analyst, and these were the documents that he released," Coombs said during his opening statement. "And he released these documents because he was hoping to make the world a better place.”

SEE ALSO | Military Prison Accused Of Abusing Bradley Manning

But prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow described Manning's actions as "what happens when arrogance meets classified networks," and said that Manning "used his military training to gain the notoriety he craved." During his near-hour-long opening presentation, Cpt. Morrow  said that the prosecution would show that Osama bin Laden had obtained an archive of wartime incident reports that could be traced back to Manning's transmission to WikiLeaks.


Manning already faces a possible sentence of 20 years in prison for the charges he pleaded guilty to, but prosecutors hope to convict him of 12 more serious charges, which include violation of the Espionage act and aiding enemies of the state. If convicted on those charges, Manning could face a life sentence.


Outside the entrance to Fort Meade, dozens of Manning's supporters held a rally with signs reading "Free Bradley" and "Bradley Manning: Jailed for Exposing War Crimes." A grass-roots group called The Bradley Manning Support Network has raised over $1.25 million dollars for his legal fund, according to The New York Times. Among Manning's supporters is Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. In 2011, Ellsburg told CNN that deeply identifies with Manning and his struggle.

Read the full story at The New York Times

Reach Executive Producer Jeremy Fuster here or follow him on Twitter



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