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Testimony links Manning, stolen U.S. cables, WikiLeaks' Assange

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
December 19, 2011 -- Updated 2216 GMT (0616 HKT)
Bradley Manning faces 22 charges after being accused of distributing hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks.
Bradley Manning faces 22 charges after being accused of distributing hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The military investigator says Manning's secondary computer had thousands of cables
  • He has testified documents found on Manning's computers were seen later on WikiLeaks
  • The testimony came in a hearing to determine if Manning will face a court martial
  • Manning is accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, among other charges

Fort Meade, Maryland (CNN) -- There were more than 100,000 full State Department cables on a secondary computer used by Army private accused of aiding the enemy, a cybercrimes investigator testified Monday.

There was also software that would allow a user to copy data to a writable CD, the investigator, Special Agent David Shaver of the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, said.

Prosecutors put forth testimony from Shaver and another cybercrimes investigator in an effort to establish links between Pfc. Bradley Manning, the stolen State Department cables released on WikiLeaks, and the site's founder, Julian Assange.

The testimony came during an Article 32 hearing for Manning. The hearing, much like a civilian grand jury hearing, will determine if Manning proceeds to a court martial.

The Army private faces 22 charges -- foremost among them, aiding the enemy -- after being accused of distributing hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks, which then posted them online.

Manning is accused of stealing and leaking State and Defense Department secrets while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.

Shaver and Mark Johnson, a Mantech International Contractor who worked for Shaver at the Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit, examined the computers Manning used in Iraq and some computer material found at his aunt's home in Potomac, Maryland, where he stayed when not deployed.

Shaver said he located over 100,000 full state department cables on one of two government computers that Manning and other soldiers used to do their jobs as intelligence analysts.

But during question by Manning's attorney, Shaver conceded that he could not say that it was Manning who accessed the cables. He also found no evidence that this information was sent to anyone.

Later Shaver testified about an SD memory card seized during a search last December of Manning's aunt's home. Manning, who was estranged from his father, listed the aunt's home as his home in Army records and stayed there around the time he began his Army career

Shaver found five files on the card. Four of the files had been deleted by the user, but the files were recovered during the investigation. One of the reasons it was possible for investigators to find files on computers, hard drives and the memory card is that Manning frequently used the exact same password for various devices.

One file on the card contained 91,000 Defense Department reports of day-to-day actions in Afghanistan, from major battles to meetings between troops and tribal leaders, Shaveer said. A second file on that card contained more than 400,000 similar reports from Iraq.

The same SD card contained a text file that had not been deleted. It read in part: "Items of historical significance for two wars. Iraq and Afghanistan Significant Activities (SIGACTS) between 0000 01 Jan 2004 and 2359 31 Dec 2009.

"Extracts from CSV Documents from Dept. of Def. DoD combined info from CIDNE (Combined Information Data Network Exchange) Database, these items have already been sanitized of any source identifying information.

"You might need to sit on the information for 90 to 180 days to figure out how to best send and distribute such a large amount of data to a large audience.

"It is possibly one of the most significant documents or our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare."

Last year, Wikileaks released nearly 500,000 documents in two batches that match the description of the documents on the SD card.

During questioning by one of Manning's attorneys, Capt. Paul Bouchard, Shaver admitted he had no knowledge of what happened to the SD card between Manning's arrest in May and the search of the aunt's house in December.

Johnson testified that he examined Manning's personal Apple laptop computer, which was seized from his living quarters in Iraq

Among the files found on the computer was records of an Internet chat with Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker who told the government that Manning was making claims about leaking secrets.

One of the chat logs contained references to video of a deadly 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Iraq.

That video was leaked in edited form by WikiLeaks.

Later Johnson testified that he also found records of an e-mail exchange between Manning and someone name Eric Schmiedl.

Manning wrote:"Are you familiar with WikiLeaks?"

"Yes I am" Schmiedl responded.

According to Johnson, Manning then wrote, "I was the source of the 12 JUL 07 video from the Apache Weapons Team which killed two journalists and injured two kids."

Johnson also testified that he examined a hard drive that was recovered from Manning's living quarters in Iraq.

On it he found a file that read: ""You can currently contact our investigations editor directly in Iceland." The message included a phone number and ended, "24 hours service; ask for Julian Assange."

The only other witness to testify on Monday was Manning's roommate in Iraq.

Spc. Eric Baker, a military police officer with Manning's company, testified that he and Manning were not close and rarely spoke.

But Baker said Manning told him he "he probably planned on getting out of the military."

Baker also said Manning was a frequent user of his personal laptop in their quarters. "He used the computer quite often, between chow times. When I'd wake up in the middle of the night, he'd be on the computer," Baker said.

The hearing recessed late Monday afternoon and is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.

At least nine more witnesses are due to testify.

Earlier testimony in the preliminary hearing portrayed Manning as someone troubled by Army discipline during his deployment to Iraq, and as someone who was struggling with sexual orientation and gender identification issues.

If convicted on all counts, Manning could face the death penalty. However, Army prosecutors have signaled they will not recommend death in the event of a conviction, and it is unlikely they would be overruled by a senior officer.

CNN's Charley Keyes and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report

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