PROSECUTOR: PFC. MANNING’S WIKILEAKS DISCLOSURES AIDING THE ENEMY

Fox News on June 3, 2013, published an AP report on pfc. Bradley Manning going on trial for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, including sensitive information that prosecutors said fell into enemy hands. Excerpts below:

Pfc. Manning, a 25-year-old former intelligence analyst from Oklahoma, has admitted to giving troves of information to WikiLeaks, but military prosecutors want to prove he aided the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence. They said they will present evidence that former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden asked for and received information WikiLeaks published.

“This is a case of about what happens when arrogance meets access to sensitive information,” Capt. Joe Morrow, a prosecutor, said in his opening statement.

“This, your honor, this is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases and then dumped that information onto the Internet into the hands of the enemy,” Capt. Morrow said.

Pfc. Manning chose to have his court-martial heard by a judge instead of a jury. It is expected to run all summer.

Pfc. Manning was arrested in Iraq more than three years ago. Since then, he has admitted to sending the material to WikiLeaks and pleaded guilty to reduced charges on nine counts that alleged violations of federal espionage and computer fraud laws, and to one count alleging violation of a military regulation prohibiting wrongful storage of classified information. The maximum for those offenses is 20 years in prison.

But Pfc. Manning admitted guilt without a deal from the U.S. military, which wanted to pursue more serious charges.

U.S. officials have said the more than 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and State Department cables sent to WikiLeaks endangered lives and national security.

Within two weeks of his arrival in Iraq in late 2009, Pfc. Manning began downloading information, seeking out WikiLeaks and communicating with the website’s founder, Julian Assange, despite warnings from the military, the prosecutor said.

“The evidence will show that Pfc. Manning knew the dangers of unauthorized disclosures to an organization like WikiLeaks and he ignored those dangers,” Capt. Morrow said.

Pfc. Manning has said he corresponded online with someone he believed to be Mr. Assange but never confirmed the person’s identity. Mr. Assange is the subject of a separate federal investigation into whether he can be prosecuted for publishing the information Pfc. Manning leaked.

WikiLeaks has been careful never to confirm or deny that Pfc. Manning was the source of the documents.

Mr. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex-crimes allegations.

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