Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of instigating the largest leak of state secrets in US history, consciously selected the information he passed to WikiLeaks to ensure that it would be of no harm to the US and would not aid any foreign enemy, his lawyer argued on Tuesday.
David Coombs, Manning's civilian lawyer, revealed at a hearing at Fort Meade military base in Maryland what is likely to be a central pillar of the defence case at the soldier's court martial. A full trial is scheduled to start on 6 March.
Coombs said that the defence would be calling as a witness Adrian Lamo, the hacker who alerted military authorities to Manning's WikiLeaks activities, to give evidence about the web chat he had with Manning shortly before the soldier's arrest in Iraq in March 2010. The content of the web chat, Coombs suggested, would be used by the defence to show that Manning selected information to leak that "could not be used to harm the US or advantage any foreign nation".