Defense Paints Bradley Manning as Misguided

Manning's former superior said he was "the best" at mining information.

(Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning arrives at the courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Monday, July 8, 2013, after the start of the sixth week of his court martial.

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Defense lawyers for Bradley Manning began their case Monday, starting the sixth week of the trial against the alleged classified leaker they hope to portray as young, naive and idealistic.

Manning's former supervisor for his job as an intelligence analyst in Iraq was the first witness for the defense. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Ehresman said Manning was his "go-to guy" and "the best" for mining information, reports NBC News, but said that he often failed to put it in the proper context.

His computer literacy was "very high," Ehreseman said, but he was weak in the "social" side to analyzing intelligence.

[READ: U.S. Government Rests Its Case in WikiLeaks Court Martial]

Defense attorneys may call as many as 46 witnesses, according to NBC, though not all of them may be public.

Much of Monday's session involved technical courtroom procedures, including the defense's usual overtures to petition the judge to drop some of the charges. Manning has pleaded guilty to 10 of the lesser 21 charges against him. His defense asked Monday for four of them to be dismissed, though it is unclear which charges they specified.

Manning's defense opened their case with video footage of a 2007 Apache helicopter strike in Iraq that killed two Reuters reporters as well as Iraqi civilians, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The incident was mentioned in opening remarks for both the prosecution and the defense at the beginning of the trial on June 3. Reuters had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the footage, which was reportedly found in Manning's quarters in Iraq.

[ALSO: Witnesses Paint Manning as Loner]

Laura McNamara, a friend of Manning's, testified about the concern Manning seemed to show for the lives of families in foreign countries. Through a series of online chat logs from 2009 – before the reported leak – Manning discussed with her the value of human life above all other priorities, and how he saw the military as an "overall positive force" but a largely "male-dominated, Christian right organization," according to the Times.

Manning told her that "activism is fun," McNamara said in cross examination, and that the military made a mistake.

Manning's trial is scheduled to continue through August. If found guilty of the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history, he could face life in prison.


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