Bradley Manning defense begins


(Reuters) – The soldier accused of the largest release of classified material in U.S. history had wide-open access to secret files that could easily be downloaded, witnesses told a court-martial on Monday at the start of defense testimony.

Private First Class Bradley Manning, accused of releasing more than 700,000 classified files to WikiLeaks, had nothing to stop him from installing software for the high-speed download of secret State Department cables, the witnesses said.

Defense attorney David Coombs sought to portray a military atmosphere that allowed intelligence analysts like Manning to listen to music or watch movies stored on a classified hard drive or personal computer while on duty.

Captain David Lim, one of Manning's supervisors, said he had encouraged analysts to delve into State Department cables and other classified materials to avoid "tunnel vision."

"We need to incorporate this into our products and incorporate it into what we give our commanders," Lim testified that he had told Manning and other analysts.

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