Lawyers for WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning will argue this week that military prosecutors must show their client intended to give sensitive intelligence to Al-Qaeda when he passed secret documents to the whistleblower website.
Manning’s defense attorneys plan to make their case during five days of pre-trial hearings that are due to resume on Monday Fort Meade, northeast of Washington.
The most serious charge facing Manning is that he allegedly aided “the enemy” by passing on a trove of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Prosecutors say that they only have to prove that Manning knew Al-Qaeda might see the sensitive intelligence posted by WikiLeaks while the defense argues that the government has to demonstrate that the army private “knowingly and intentionally gave intelligence to the enemy,” according to defense motions filed before the hearing.
Manning, 24, could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of aiding the enemy by handing hundreds of thousands of classified documents — including military logs from Iraq and Afghanistan and sensitive diplomatic cables — to the WikiLeaks website. He has not yet entered a plea.
The leak triggered a diplomatic firestorm that left US officials red-faced over criticism of both allies and foes.