"He started to see that this information should be published," his attorney said. "This is one of the more important documents of our time - lifting the fog of war and showing the true nature of 21st century asymetric warfare."
"He was a little naive in thinking that the information he selected could make a difference," he added. "But he was good intentioned."
Manning's aunt and cousin were in attendance Monday, a Department of Defense official told reporters. Roughly two dozen protesters stood outside the gates to Fort Meade, chanting slogans such as "Free Bradley Now!" In a rare statement, defense attorney Coombs thanked Manning's supporters via his website Sunday evening.
The trial may last as long as 12 weeks, during which experts say more than simply Manning may become on trial.