June 3 marked day one of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s long-awaited court martial for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks.
Manning has already agreed to plead guilty to several charges on his sheet — just not aiding the enemy. The others carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, while treason could land him in prison for life.
In order for prosecutors to make a case that Manning aided the enemy, they have to prove that he knew the documents he leaked might end up in al-Qaida’s hands.
In the first three days of testimony this week, prosecutors rehashed Manning’s military service, detailing his time at Advanced Individual Training for military intelligence at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. There, apparently, he was an attentive, involved student, almost to a fault.
“At times, it was difficult to continue the lesson because he was always, ‘Why is that? What if?'” instructor Troy Moul testified.
The prosecution painted a very detailed picture of Manning’s depth of operational security knowledge, from his Army training to his months on the job in Iraq.
The defense, in turn, tried to show that although Manning knew that what he was doing was illegal, he never had any intention of aiding the enemy. He leaked the documents, they said, to expose the American government’s questionable actions during the War on Terror.
They brought in Adrian Lamo, a hacker whom Manning met online and who eventually turned him in. Lamo confirmed that Manning never mentioned wishing the U.S. harm as a result of his actions.
“At any time, did Pfc. Manning ever say he wanted to help the enemy?” defense attorney David Coombs asked.
“Not in those words, no,” Lamo replied.
The trial is scheduled to resume on Monday.
This is the first installment of an multi-part feature we’ll be running this summer, with updates on the Manning court-martial as it progresses, for as long as it lasts. Be sure to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates.