FORT MEADE, Md. (CN) - Witness testimony concluded this morning (Wednesday) in a hearing to determine whether Pfc. Bradley Manning will face court-martial for allegedly sharing classified data with Wikileaks, charges supported by a convicted hacker who testified for the government.
Adrian Lamo, 30, told the court Tuesday that Manning confessed to leaking hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents in an encrypted chat under the handle Bradass87.
Though defense counsel called them "alleged chats," Lamo said the handle Bradass87 appeared on his Facebook page with his photographs and biographical information.
By sharing the chat logs with law enforcement and Wired Magazine, Lamo sparked an investigation that led to Manning's arrest in May 2010 for allegedly "aiding the enemy," stealing records and other charges. Manning spent several months in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig at Quantico, Va., before being moved to a medium-security facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Lamo told The Guardian that the decision to inform was "thrust" upon him, but the hacker sang a different tune at court on Tuesday.
"What I saw in the chats appeared to be an admission of acts so egregious that it required that response," Lamo said, adding that he wanted "to assure that the truth is presented."
Manning's attorney David Coombs seemed skeptical when Lamo said he started his Manning probe out of "curiosity."
"You're asking all this out of your curiosity, not because you're working with law enforcement?" Coombs asked.
Lamo explained, "Context is necessary to establish my curiosity."
In 2003, Lamo pleaded guilty to consumer fraud, was sentenced to six months of house arrest, and started abusing prescription drugs to cope with depression. Lamo was eventually institutionalized on a 72-hour psychiatric hold, which was extended by nine days.
He told the court that his mental state devolved into full-blown Asperger's syndrome, a condition marked by difficulty relating with others.
"I have been diagnosed thus," Lamo said.
He said he was not paid or offered immunity for his cooperation against Manning.
Lamo characterized his alleged chat with Manning "as a confession," in Lamo's capacity as a self-professed journalist and a minister for the Universal Life Church.
Hearing Explores Manning's Emotional Turmoil
Wikileaks has divided its trove of confidential documents into several categories: "Cablegate" for diplomatic cables; Iraq and Afghanistan incident reports belong to a section called "War Diaries;" and "Collateral Murder" is the title of a video of a July 12, 2007, Baghdad airstrike that killed eight people, including two Reuters photographers.
Prosecutors had one of Manning's letters read into the record on Monday. It stated: "This is perhaps one of the most significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st Century asymmetric warfare. Have a good day."
During witness testimony Tuesday, one of Manning's fellow soldiers told the court that Manning attacked her in Iraq. The alleged incident resulted in Manning being demoted from specialist to private first class. It is known as an Article 15, or nonjudicial punishment, under military law, a military spokesman said.
"He punched me in the face, unprovoked, and displayed uncontrollable behavior that seemed untrustworthy at the time," said Jihrleah Showman, a former team leader of Manning's 10th Mountain Division.