Prosecutors: Manning wanted attention for leaks
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) -- U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning betrayed his country's trust and spilled government secrets to make a name for himself, and he knew the material would be seen by al-Qaida, including its former leader Osama bin Laden, prosecutors said Thursday in closing arguments.
Maj. Ashden Fein said Manning abused his trust as an intelligence analyst in Iraq and was not the troubled and naive soldier defense attorneys have made him about to be. Fein displayed a smiling photo of Manning from 2010 -- about the time he gave sensitive material to WikiLeaks -- and said "this is a gleeful, grinning Pfc. Manning" who sent battlefield reports to WikiLeaks, accompanied by the message: "Have a good day."
Manning is charged with aiding the enemy, which carries a possible sentence of up to life in prison. His defense attorneys have argued there was no evidence he knew al-Qaida looked specifically at the anti-secrecy website.
The 25-year-old Crescent, Okla., native has acknowledged giving WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and videos in late 2009 and early 2010. But he says the information did not harm troops in Afghanistan and Iraq or threaten national security.
The material included video of a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed 11 men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. A military investigation concluded the troops reasonably mistook the photography equipment for weapons.
Defense attorneys will give their closing arguments later Thursday.
Fein, the military's lead prosecutor, said Manning had a dog tag with "Humanist" engraved on it, but "the only human Pfc. Manning ever cared about was himself."
"The flag meant nothing to him," Fein said.
Prosecutors have presented evidence that digital copies of some of the documents Manning leaked were found in bin Laden's compound when it was raided and the terrorist leader was killed.
A military judge, not a jury, is hearing the case at Manning's request. Army Col. Denise Lind will deliberate after closing arguments. It's not clear when she will rule.
Manning pleaded guilty earlier this year to reduced versions of some charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison for those offenses, but prosecutors pressed ahead with the original charges.
Federal authorities are looking into whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can also be prosecuted. He has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex-crimes allegations.
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