Printed on: July 26, 2013

Prosecution says Manning released info for the fame


FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) -- U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was a traitor with one mission as an intelligence analyst in Iraq: to find and reveal government secrets to a group of anarchists and bask in the glory as a whistleblower, a prosecutor said Thursday during closing arguments.

Maj. Ashden Fein said Manning betrayed his country's trust and spilled classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, knowing the material would be seen by al-Qaida. Even Osama bin Laden had some of the digital files at his compound when he was killed, the prosecutor said.

"WikiLeaks was merely the platform which Pfc. Manning used to ensure all the information was available for the world, including enemies of the United States," Fein said.

Manning is charged with 21 offenses, but the most serious is aiding the enemy, which carries a possible sentence of up to life in prison. Defense attorneys will present their closing arguments Friday.

Manning, 25, was not the troubled, naive soldier defense attorneys have made him out to be, Fein said. He displayed a smiling photo of Manning from 2010 when he was visiting relatives in Maryland on leave.

Fein said: "This is a gleeful, grinning Pfc. Manning" who sent battlefield reports to WikiLeaks, accompanied by the message: "Have a good day."

Manning, a native of Crescent, Okla., has acknowledged giving WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and videos in late 2009 and early 2010. But he says he didn't believe the information would harm troops in Afghanistan and Iraq or threaten national security.

Prosecutors must prove Manning knew al-Qaida would see the material to get a conviction on the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. They presented evidence Manning knew "the enemy" in general used the Internet, and that leakers with evil intent might use WikiLeaks to spill secrets.