Bradley Manning was young and naive
when he took up a job as a US army intelligence analyst in Iraq and
his humanist values are what led him to leak thousands of classified
documents, his lawyer said in closing arguments Friday.
David Coombs said the Amy private "had good intentions" when he gave the material to anti-secrecy website Wikileaks - the largest leak of classified materials in US history.
"You have to see it through the eyes of someone who cares about everybody," said Coombs, referring to the 25-year-old Manning. "It is naive to feel a duty to everybody, but what a beautiful feeling."
He said it wasn't anti-American to have such feelings, arguing that it was one of the principles the United States was founded on.
Coombs replayed a video recording that Manning released to Wikileaks of an helicopter attack that killed civilians and Reuters journalists in Iraq. He asked Judge Denise Lind how she would have felt seeing that as a 21-year-old, as Manning was at the time.
"What do you do when you can't disengage, when these pictures are burnt into your mind?" Coombs asked.
A verdict in the case, which has been argued in a military courtroom in Fort Meade, Maryland, could come as early as the weekend.
Manning already has admitted to leaking the documents to Wikileaks. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to some of the less serious charges, but is contesting the government's claim that he violated the Espionage Act and aided the enemy. He would face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.
Prosecutors summed up their case Thursday, describing Manning as self-centred and deliberate in leaking the documents.
Major Ashden Fein said Manning betrayed his country's trust and knowingly aided the enemy. Fein argued that Manning's actions violated disclosure agreements he signed while in training to become an intelligence analyst.
To support the aiding the enemy charge, Fein argued that Manning deliberately transmitted video and information to Wikileaks and that he knew that al-Qaeda would obtain the information.
The actions were not that of a humanist, as Manning portrayed himself, but an anarchist, Fein said.
"Manning had no allegiance to the United States and his flag," Fein added.
* * * * The following information is not for publication
## dpa-Contacts - Reporting by: Dominik Wurnig and Gretel Johnston - Editing by : Joseph Nasr
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