Reporting Pat Warren
FORT MEADE, Md. (WJZ) — It’s the second day of a hearing to determine whether Bradley Manning will stand trial for leaking thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks.
Pat Warren has the latest from Saturday’s proceedings.
Prosecutors were back in action this weekend trying to prove they have enough evidence against Manning to bring him to trial.
While prosecutors continue their case against Manning Saturday, a busload of Manning supporters came to his defense.
“Today is his birthday and he’s been held under inhumane conditions for too long,” one Manning supporter said.
Demonstrators lined Route 175 at Fort Meade Saturday just as they did Friday in support of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who spent his 24th birthday in the glare of accusations that he compromised the U.S. military and government relations with other countries by releasing a classified video of an American attack in Iraq that killed 11 people, and documents characterizing world leaders.
Prosecutors claim he spilled thousands of secrets. His supporters– holding signs like ‘Brad sez if you see something, say something’– tell WJZ the government shouldn’t need secrets.
“I think it’s very important that the American people know the truth,” Manning’s supporter Ken Sumner said. “Bradley Manning has been accused of telling the truth and I don’t think he should be punished for that.”
“It’s unclear if he’s the person who leaked information to WikiLeaks, but if he is, I think he should be protected and appreciated as a whistleblower and not a threat to national security at all,” said one person.
Manning has been detained for 19 months for what the Obama administration considers a compromise of national security.
“Whether it was one person or a conspiracy, then they need to be investigated and if the evidence is there then they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said.
This hearing will determine if the evidence is there.
An Army appeals court has rejected the defense request to have the presiding officer removed for bias.
The defense is arguing that Manning’s struggles as a gay soldier before the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ contributed to mental and emotional problems– problems which should have prohibited him from accessing classified material.