FORT MEADE, Md. — Prosecutors rested their case against Pfc. Bradley Manning on Tuesday after presenting evidence from 80 witnesses, trying to prove the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst let military secrets fall into the hands of al-Qaida and its former leader Osama bin Laden.
The 25-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., is charged with 21 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which carries a possible life sentence. To prove that charge, prosecutors must show Manning gave intelligence to the antisecrecy website WikiLeaks, knowing it would be published online and seen by an enemy of the United States.
As they wrapped up their case, prosecutors offered that al-Qaida leaders reveled in WikiLeaks' publication of classified U.S. documents, urging members to study them before devising ways to attack the United States.
Manning has acknowledged sending more than 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and State Department diplomatic cables, along with battlefield video clips, to WikiLeaks while working in Baghdad from November 2009 through May 2010.
The defense could begin its case as early as Monday, when the trial will resume. Manning's defense said at the opening of the trial that he was a young and naive, but a good-intentioned soldier whose struggle to fit in as a gay man in the military made him feel he "needed to do something to make a difference in this world."
He told a military judge in February that he leaked the war logs to document "the true costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," including the deaths of two Reuters employees killed in a U.S. helicopter attack. Manning said the diplomatic cables revealed secret pacts and deceit he thought should be exposed.