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Dec 18, 2011 10:41 AM by Matt Stafford

Manning's status as gay soldier key to intel leak defense

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - Lawyers for the Army private charged in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history say he was influenced by his struggles with being a gay soldier.

The military hearing continued Sunday to determine whether Pfc. Bradley Manning will stand trial at a court-martial for allegedly slipping a trove of government secrets to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010. The release included Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, State Department cables and a military video of a 2007 American helicopter attack in Iraq that killed 11 men.

The Obama administration says the released information has threatened valuable military and diplomatic sources and strained America's relations with other governments. Manning's lawyers counter that much of the information that was classified by the Pentagon posed no risk.

His attorneys also maintain that his status as a homosexual in the military before the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" contributed to mental and emotional problems that should have barred him from having access to sensitive material.

Protesters have been rallying this weekend in his support on both coasts.

 

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