Closing arguments expected in Bradley Manning case

Pfc. Bradley Manning faces 22 charges after being accused of distributing hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks.

Story highlights

  • Manning's defense calls only two witnesses
  • A witness tells the hearing about a Manning outburst
  • The hearing is part of a process of determining whether Manning should face court martial

Closing arguments are scheduled Thursday in the hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the man accused of committing the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history.

On Wednesday, Manning's defense attorney spent a brief 35 minutes questioning two witnesses before resting his case.

Manning's Article 32 hearing is part of the military's process of determining whether he should face court martial.

The first defense witness called was Sgt. Daniel Padgett who served with Manning in Iraq and witnessed one of several angry outbursts witnesses have described.

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Padgett was the senior enlisted man on the night shift in the intelligence office where Manning worked.

He testified that in December 2009, Manning was late for duty and they sat down in a conference room so Padgett could counsel him.

Padgett said when they began talking, Manning was calm, but that he began to change. At some point, said Padgett, Manning grabbed the conference room table and turned the table over, knocking a computer and radio to the floor.

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Because there was a rifle in the room, Padgett testified that he didn't want Manning to get his hands on it, so "I coaxed him away from that, put my hands on his shoulder and coaxed him away."

At that point another soldier came in the room, subdued Manning, sat him down and Padgett continued counseling him, Padgett testified.

When asked by Manning's attorney David Coombs if Padgett remembered Master Sgt. Paul Adkins, the senior enlisted man in the unit, talking with him about the incident, Padgett said "vaguely."

Padgett testified that he did not discuss the outburst with the major who oversaw the intelligence analysis officers, the company's first sergeant nor the company commander.

Manning was not moved out of the intelligence office after the outburst and did not lose his security clearance as a result of the outburst.

Coombs has argued that the Army should have known about Manning's emotional issues and kept him away from classified materials.

Manning is accused of stealing and leaking nearly three-quarters of a million classified documents from the State Department and the Defense Department to the WikiLeaks website, which published many of them. The leaks occurred while Manning was serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.

Prosecution witnesses testified that Manning downloaded and leaked 400,000 DoD field reports from Iraq and 90,0000 similar documents from Afghanistan. There was also evidence presented that he downloaded and leaked more than 250,000 State Department cables.

Coomb's second witness, Capt. Barclay Keay, testified by phone about his time with Manning's unit. For a short time in December 2009, he was an officer in the intelligence analysis office where Manning worked.

Keay said he often saw soldiers listening to music in the office where classified materials were analyzed. At first he thought it was not proper, but he was told it was "an accepted practice" that was "tolerated because it helped soldiers be more productive."

In news reports before the hearing, Manning is said to have bragged in a chat room that he was able to download materials onto a CD while pretending to listen to Lady Gaga.

Keay told the hearing, "I do feel like he wanted to be a good soldier. He did good analytical work."

Even though he called only two, Coombs had requested 48 witnesses, 10 of whom were already on the prosecution witness list. The investigating officer overseeing the case granted those 10 and two other defense witnesses who were not on the prosecution list. He rejected other requested defense witnesses, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mark Zaid, a national security attorney, said the fact the defense called only two witnesses is not surprising. "For one thing, an Article 32 (hearing) serves as an opportunity for the defense to obtain pre-trial discovery, and particularly information they do not know. Additionally, the likelihood of stopping charges from going forward is non-existent in this case so there is little value in telegraphing to the prosecution information the defense may possess but might not yet have revealed," said Zaid.