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Defense: Bradley Manning Had No ‘Knowledge’ By Giving Information to WikiLeaks He Was ‘Aiding the Enemy’

During the first day of the defense’s case in the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, his defense moved for a finding of “not guilty” on the charge of “aiding the enemy.”

Manning is charged with committing multiple offenses that relate to releasing United States government information to WikiLeaks. The offenses include violations of the Espionage Act, a federal statute prohibiting the embezzlement of government property and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The most serious charge of “aiding the enemy” is an Article 104 offense and, if convicted, he would face a possible sentence of life in prison.

The “aiding the enemy” charge is, as follows:

In that Private First Class Bradley E. Manning, U.S. Army, did, at or near Contingency Operating Station Hammer, Iraq, between on or about 1 November 2009 and on or about 27 May 2010, without proper authority, knowingly give intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means.

The defense has filed a motion for a “finding of not guilty,” which should be granted when, “viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, there is an ‘absence of some evidence which, together with all reasonable inferences and applicable presumptions, could reasonably tend to establish every essential element of an offense charged.'”

It argues, “The government’s evidence fails to show in any way that by giving information to WikiLeaks, PFC Manning had actual knowledge that he was giving information to the enemy.”

According to the motion, the defense finds the government presented evidence that Manning was told in his training that “the enemy uses the internet generally.” However, it “has not proffered any evidence, however, which shows that in his training, PFC Manning was told that a particular enemy looks at or uses the WikiLeaks website.”

Mr. Troy Moul, who trained Manning on protecting classified information, gave testimony in court that he had “never heard of WikiLeaks prior to PFC Manning’s arrest in this case.” Also, Cpt. Casey Fulton testified that intelligence analysts were only warned about social networking sites like Facebook or Google Maps. They were not warned about WikiLeaks.

Army Col. Denise Lind, the military judge in the trial, drafted instructions: “If at trial, the government does not prove the accused knew that by giving intelligence by indirect means, he actually knew he was giving intelligence to the enemy, the Court will entertain appropriate motions.”

Lind also gave instructions on what it would take for the government to prove “knowingly.” [cont’d.]

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."