Defense wins round on WikiLeaks helicopter video

FILE - Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Monday, June 17, 2013, after the start of the third week of his court martial. Manning is charged with indirectly aiding the enemy by sending troves of classified material to WikiLeaks. He faces up to life in prison. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

FORT MEADE, Maryland (AP) — Lawyers for U.S. soldier Bradley Manning can offer evidence contradicting the government’s assertion that he revealed classified information in a leaked battlefield video from Iraq, a military judge said Thursday.

Manning is being tried on charges including aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence, for sending the video and thousands of U.S. documents to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website.

At issue Thursday was a document with an assessment by a former U.S. Central Command official of the video showing a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed at least eight people, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The official’s assessment was that the video should be unclassified.

Prosecutors have presented an assessment from a Pentagon official that the video revealed military tactics, techniques and procedures.

Manning has acknowledged he gave the video to WikiLeaks but denied revealing national defense information.

Among the leaked documents were State Department cables that included candid and sometimes embarrassing assessments of foreign leaders and governments. State Department officials say the disclosures endangered lives and threatened national security.

Manning has said the cables exposed U.S. hypocrisy. His supporters said a leaked cable revealing America’s half-hearted support for Tunisia’s government helped trigger the Arab Spring uprisings.

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