Manning Hearing Turns Secret, Supporters Outraged

Two witnesses have also declined to testify, on self-incrimination grounds
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2011 12:55 PM CST
Bradley Manning is escorted from a security vehicle to a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Dec. 19, 2011, for a military hearing that will determine if he should face court-martial.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – Bradley Manning’s pretrial hearing was closed to the public today, with media and spectators forced out of the courtroom so that an Army special agent who had examined Manning’s computers could testify about classified information. The move drew criticism from WikiLeaks supporters, particularly the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in other cases, the Baltimore Sun reports; the nonprofit’s legal director said the hearing has been "more restrictive than those at Guantanamo."

The defense objected to the closure, according to Politico, but the presiding officer said that "protecting classified information is an overriding interest that outweighs the value of an open proceeding." It’s not the first time testimony has gone unheard; yesterday two witnesses took the fifth, according to Reuters, including Sgt. First Class Paul Adkins, who ran security at the facility where Manning worked. The defense has argued that Adkins should have recognized Manning’s disturbed mental state and revoked his clearance. (Read more Bradley Manning stories.)

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