By David VergunJune 3, 2013
FORT MEADE, Md. (Army News Service, June 3, 2013) -- The trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning started here today with Manning not contesting the charges that he leaked classified information while stationed in Iraq in 2009 and 2010 as an intelligence analyst.
In his opening statement, the prosecutor, Capt. Joe Morrow, called the leaks the "biggest ever" in U.S. history. He said the leaks had caused immeasurable harm to national security. David Coombs, the defense attorney, said Manning was "young and naive, but good-intentioned."
If Manning is found guilty, he faces up to life in prison.
The trial got underway around 9:45 a.m., with Judge Col. Denise Lind asking Manning if he wanted to reconsider trial by a military judge alone, herself, rather than by jury, which is termed a "panel" by the military.
She also asked Manning if he wanted to reconsider and plead "not guilty" to the charges.
In the afternoon, the prosecutor called the first witness, Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Smith, who was the senior enlisted Criminal Investigative Division agent at the time.
He and another case agent, Tony Graham, were the first to investigate the "scene of the crime," as Smith called the sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, where Manning worked. Smith discussed the procedures they used to collect evidence and conduct interviews.
The prosecutor will call more witnesses and use sworn statements as evidence as its case proceeds. The defense will present its arguments in the coming days.