National News

Jan 9, 2013 9:41 AM by Associated Press

WikiLeaks case likened to Civil War espionage

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - The defense says military prosecutors are drawing comparisons between an Army private's alleged leak of classified documents and Civil War-era spying cases.

The argument emerged Tuesday during a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade for Pfc. Bradley Manning. The hearing continues Wednesday.

The issue is whether Manning's motive is relevant to a charge he aided the enemy by sending reams of classified documents to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks. The government contends Manning knew, or should have known, that the information would be seen by al-Qaida.

Defense attorney David Coombs said Tuesday that prosecutors are citing Civil War-era cases concerning soldiers who placed coded messages in newspaper ads.

Coombs says Manning's alleged offenses are more akin to providing government documents to a newspaper.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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