Bradley Manning trial may include Navy SEAL from Osama bin Laden raid
Prosecutors charge Pfc. Bradley Manning with 'aiding the enemy' in leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. They want to call as a witness a Navy SEAL involved in the Osama bin Laden raid.
Staff writer and editor
Brad Knickerbocker is a staff writer and editor based in Ashland, Oregon.
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Although military prosecutors could have sought the death penalty on this charge – which violates both the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) – they are pushing for a life sentence.
In a court-martial pretrial hearing Tuesday, Col. Denise Lind, the military judge in the case, ruled that the US government must prove that Manning knew he was aiding the enemy when he took steps to make public hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports, State Department diplomatic cables, files on detainees at the Guantánamo Bay US naval base, other classified records, and battlefield video clips – the most controversial of which showed US attack helicopter pilots in Iraq killing what turned out to be a group of unarmed civilian men, including two journalists from the Reuters news agency.
Colonel Lind said the prosecution must show evidence that Manning had "reason to believe such information could be used to the injury of the US," by an armed group like Al Qaeda or another nation, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday.
Prosecutors reportedly are preparing evidence – including testimony from a US Navy SEAL who was one of those involved in the raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011 – to show that the information leaked by Manning was found in Mr. bin Laden’s compound in Abbotttabad, Pakistan, and thus aided a terrorist organization.
As Manning’s pretrial hearing continued Wednesday, Lind ruled against the defense, which had tried to block such testimony on grounds that it would be prejudicial to Manning’s case.