Wiki-leaker trial: the weekend developments
December 19th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

Wiki-leaker trial: the weekend developments

A quick catch-up on some of the stunning revelations from PFC Bradley Manning's Article 32 hearing.

The first official WikiLeaks connection

For all the talk about Manning and WikiLeaks, the U.S. government had never officially said it was Manning who leaked the thousands of documents that the muckraker website posted. Until now. As Charley Keyes reported Sunday, an Army computer investigator testified that a search of Army computers used by Private First Class Bradley Manning in Iraq revealed that he had downloaded the same secret documents and videos that were released online by WikiLeaks.

This was the first evidence of a connection of Manning to WikiLeaks brought out in his preliminary military hearing. Shaver said a forensic analysis of Manning’s computers showed Manning had searched for information about WikiLeaks more than 100 times, as well as information about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Shaver's investigation also found that Manning had created a small computer program to download a large amount of files automatically.

Warning signs but no action
An officer who supervised the private said Sunday that she'd recommended that he be removed from the computer room outside Baghdad after he fought with a fellow soldier. Capt. Casey Fulton, the first witness on the hearing's third day, said she also recommended that Manning's weapon be taken away.

At the same time, Fulton described the Army private - who had access to classified government computer networks - as trained, experienced and knowledgeable. She agreed with a defense attorney that Manning was her "go-to analyst" on various computer projects.

Adkins has been reduced in rank, from master sergeant to sergeant first class.

Security that amounted to a trust system
At the time of Manning's last deployment to Iraq, there was no technology to block soldiers from downloading and stealing massive amounts of government secrets, a military computer expert testified Sunday.

Capt. Thomas Cherepko said intelligence analysts like Manning could move information back and forth from their official computers and a shared computer hard drive. Testifying by telephone, he said there was nothing preventing a soldier from burning a CD of classified information, taking the CD, and then distributing whatever files were on it.

"The only thing preventing that is trust," said Cherepko, who served with Manning at the same base in Iraq.

The captain said that no other soldier in Manning's unit did anything to exploit weaknesses in the computer system and transfer material to a personal computer.

Sexually confused or cunning criminal?
Defense lawyers for an army private accused in the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history brought up Saturday an alleged female alter ego of Bradley Manning's as they seek to establish his state of mind at the time of the alleged crimes, Larry Shaughnessy reported.

The testimony came on the second day of Manning's Article 32 hearing, which also coincided with his 24th birthday.

A U.S. Army special agent, testifying by phone from Germany, was asked by one of Manning's attorneys if he knew that the Army private had an alter ego with the name, Breanna Manning. The agent said he was aware Manning used the name in online chats.

But Military prosecutors on Sunday portrayed Bradley Manning as a highly skilled, calculating traitor - in sharp contrast to the defense argument that he was a uniquely talented soldier who was picked on by colleagues and was struggling to come to grips with his sexual identity. Manning was widely recognized for his computer skills, as well as known for his emotional outbursts - like scuffling with co-workers, slamming his fist on tables and even being seemingly unresponsive as he stared at his computer screen, according to testimony over the first three days of the preliminary hearing at Fort Meade, which is located between Washington and Baltimore.

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