Evidence in Manning Trial: Letter Found by Navy SEALs

It's from Osama bin Laden, and it requests WikiLeaks material

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 2, 2013 10:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – The most serious charge against Bradley Manning is one of aiding the enemy: It carries a sentence of life without parole, and it requires prosecutors to prove that Manning "knowingly gave intelligence information to al-Qaeda." The prosecution began its effort to prove just that yesterday—as it wraps up its case, which the Wall Street Journal expects to happen early this week. Four pieces of evidence it's using, per the Guardian:

  • A digital letter recovered by the Navy SEALs who took down Osama bin Laden in Islamabad. Per the correspondence, bin Laden specifically tasked an associate with collecting WikiLeaks material, and was sent secret military reports on Afghanistan released by WikiLeaks, along with some embassy cables.

  • Testimony from Youssef Aboul-Enein that was read aloud. He's a US military adviser on Islamist militancy, and his statements were intended to put forth a picture of al-Qaeda as web savvy. Per Aboul-Enein, "Communication through cyberspace was the preferred means of communication," and the group has used the web as a research tool since the early 2000s.
  • A 2011 video produced by the American al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn, which featured footage of a Baghdad helicopter attack that was infamously released by WikiLeaks, and this line from Gadahn to al-Qaeda supporters: "take advantage of resources available on the Internet."
  • Al-Qaeda's Inspire magazine, which included this tip in one of its issues: "Anything from WikiLeaks is useful for archiving."

In this Friday, June 28, 2013 file photo, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after another day of his court-martial.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning arrives at the courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Friday, June 28, 2013, for his court-martial.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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