|Bradley Manning is accused of downloading 260,000 US diplomatic cables, the biggest leak in US history [AFP]|
Classified files downloaded to the computer of Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of giving troves of classified US documents to WikiLeaks, matched those that later released by the whistleblowing website, an investigator has told a military court.
David Shaver, a computer crimes investigator with the military, said on Sunday that an analysis of Manning’s two classified computers revealed hundreds of sensitive files and file fragments that were accessed or downloaded through the military’s secret computer network.
Shaver’s testimony came on the third day of a hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to try the 24-year-old Manning at a general court martial on charges of aiding the enemy and 22 other counts. If convicted of the most serious charges, he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The prosecution has portrayed Manning as a well-trained analyst who was particularly knowledgeable about computers and who understood his responsibilities but violated them.
But the defence has sought to portray him as emotionally unstable and unsuitable for his job as an intelligence analyst.
Manning’s defence attorney has largely ignored the question of whether his client is to blame for the leaks but has focused instead on why Manning continued to have access to classified material despite warning signs of emotional instability.
David Coombs noted on Saturday that Manning “got furious and upset” during an outburst, flipped a table and sent a computer crashing to the ground. Manning had to be restrained over fears he was headed for a weapon.
Apache gunsight video
Shaver’s examination of Manning’s computer also found thousands of state department cables and two versions of an Apache gunsight video that showed a coldblooded attack that killed several Iraqis, including two Reuters journalists.
One version of the video matched the film aired by WikiLeaks in 2010 and the other appeared to be the source, he said. Shaver, who faces cross-examination from the defence on Monday, said he compared the files on Manning’s computer to documents he downloaded from WikiLeaks and found them to be the same.
Manning is suspected of downloading thousands of government files from the military’s classified computer network when he was stationed in Iraq, information that later showed up on the WikiLeaks website in the largest unauthorised release of classified documents in US history.
Shaver said Manning’s computer profile had been used to carry out more than 100 searches of the military’s Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, known as SIPRNet, for documents naming WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange.
Shaver also recreated a path used on Manning’s computer to download assessment documents written about detainees in the US war against al-Qaeda who were being held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.