FT. MEADE, Md. — Pfc. Bradley Manning swiveled in the witness chair, smiling and occasionally talking over his lawyer. In his Army dress-blue uniform, he appeared even younger than his 24 years.
It was difficult to reconcile the bespectacled Manning's relaxed, almost chatty demeanor with the vast charges against him — perpetrating one of the biggest leaks of classified material in U.S. history.
Manning is accused of providing the anti-secrecy Internet group WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and classified war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq while based in Baghdad as a military intelligence analyst in 2009 and 2010. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
The military judge, Col. Denise Lind, accepted terms Thursday under which Manning could plead guilty to a series of lesser counts of providing classified information to WikiLeaks, including a battlefield video file, dozens of war logs, and other classified material.