Ed Pilkington at Fort Meade, Maryland
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 27 February 2013 21.40 GMT
The US government is planning to call 141 witnesses to the trial of Bradley Manning, including 15 people who would testify that the information he passed to WikiLeaks caused harm to US national interests.
The gigantic scale of the prosecution plans were revealed during pre-trial legal argument over how sensitive secret information would be handled. The trial, scheduled to start on 3 June and pencilled in for 12 weeks, is the most prominent prosecution of the source of an official leak for at least a generation.
Ashden Fein, the leading prosecution counsel, told the court that four witnesses would be called whose testimony would have to be given anonymously and entirely behind closed doors, with only the judge, case lawyers and the accused present. One of the four would be "John Doe", the probable US Navy Seal involved in the killing of Osama bin Laden.
In addition, 33 witnesses would have sensitive or secret information to impart to the court, Fein said, and should therefore be heard partially in closed session. Fein said that the witnesses would discuss matters such as "injury and death to individuals" accruing from the WikiLeaks disclosures, and how "capability of the enemy increased in certain countries".
1. Bradley Manning trial: read the documents released by the Pentagon
The 84 documents released by the army after pressure from transparency advocates and news organisations include court rulings on defence and government motions, and orders that set the scheduling of the trial. The batch constitutes only a tiny portion of the paperwork that has already been generated in the proceedings, including some 500 documents stretching to 30,000 pages.